The 300s Red Sox Yankees ALDS Preview

It’s been FOURTEEN YEARS since these teams faced off in the postseason when the Red Sox broke a curse and kicked off an entire generation of young massholes coming up in the world (not to mention completing the greatest comeback in the history of sports). It seems like these two teams used to go at it in the playoffs all the time back in the day, but in reality they’ve only ever faced off four times. That just goes to show you how sports will never be more important to your every day life than when you’re 15.

I wrote the other day about how despite winning a franchise record 108 games, most Red Sox fans don’t seem exactly brimming with confidence. The Yankees, also having won 100 games, have come to town though so it’s time to play for keeps. Lets break down some key things to watch for before making our pick.

  • Game 1
    • Friday, Oct. 5th – 7:32 pm (Fenway)
      • Chris Sale vs J.A. Happ
  • Game 2
    • Saturday, Oct. 6th – 8:15 pm (Fenway)
      • David Price vs Masahiro Tanaka
  • Game 3
    • Monday, Oct. 8th – TBD (Yankee Stadium)
      • ??? vs Rick Porcello
  • Game 4
    • Tuesday, Oct. 9th – TBD (Yankee Stadium) *if necessary
  • Game 5
    • Thursday, Oct. 11th – TBD (Fenway) *if necessary

/////

  • He’s not even on the team, but Trot Nixon is throwing out the first pitch for Game 1 so I’m listing that as a strength. Don’t even argue with me on that one.
  • Red Sox Offense – Boston led all of baseball with 876 runs this year (NY was second with 851) and have 2 guys in JD Martinez and Mookie Betts who are a coin flip to win AL MVP. Aside from those two they have a pretty, pretty, pretty good lineup:
    • Andrew Benintendi .290/16/87
    • Xander Bogaerts .288/23/103
    • Rafael Devers .240/21/66
    • Eduardo Nunez .265/10/44
    • Brock Holt .277/7/46
    • Mitch Moreland .245/15/68
  • Not to mention we have newly crowned Yankee killer Steve Pearce waiting to pounce. He hits J.A. Happ extremely well (.344 average, 1.419 OPS, six homers and 16 RBIs in 32 career at-bats) so don’t be surprised to see him in the starting lineup tonight.
  • Chris Sale (if healthy)
    • It’s impossible to know what to expect from Chris Sale tonight. I went into my concerns about Sale the other day and I still don’t feel great about it.
      I’ll be honest though, the No. 1 reason I’m less than confident heading into Friday night is 100% Chris Sale’s health. The guy is just not right. According to Felger and Mazz yesterday, his average fastball velocity went down every single start over his last four starts. That is BAD. He was throwing off of flat ground earlier this week, just days before he’s supposed to take the ball in Game 1. Thats something a rehabbing pitcher does, not a guy who is ready to open the ALDS. Maybe he comes out and he’s totally fine, but I’m not counting on it. Even if he does, I’d be concerned about how he bounces back. Remember when he came off the DL and struck out 12 Orioles and was hitting 99 on the gun? Yea well that was on August 12th and he’s thrown a grand total of 12 innings since then.
  • Craig Kimbrel had a down year when compared to his stellar standard, but this guy coming out of the pen throwing absolute gas is about as good of a weapon you can have. Now if the Sox can somehow bridge the gap to him…
  • Red Sox Bullpen: It’s terrible. Despite the advanced analytics saying the Sox bullpen actually has a great WAR, if you’ve watched even one game this season you know it’s anxiety inducing. Hell, it’s been this way all the way since Game 1.
  • So help me god if Alex Cora throws Steven Wright out there in a late situation only to give up a bomb on a knuckleball while Boone sits in the dugout and smirks.
  • Red Sox Starters 2-5: Consistency is the problem here. Rick Porcello won the Cy Young in 2016 for christ’s sake, but I’m not super confident in him. He did throw a complete game shutout against the Yankees in about 90 minutes earlier this season though.
  • Even Tim Kurkjian doesn’t know what to think. I feeeel like they’ll be good, but they’ve also ALL been bad in the playoffs their entire careers….

“The gut feeling here is, despite lots of evidence to the contrary, he is going to be great this October. He will have to be if the Red Sox are to win this series. [Chris Sale] David Price and Rick Porcello also need to be good. Together, those three are 0-11 with a 6.18 ERA in 14 postseason starts.”

  • David Price’s Psyche: He’s gotta break through in the playoffs at some point right? Right??
  • Yankees Home Run Power: These guys can hit the shit out of the ball and half their lineup can hit it to the moon. The Yankees set the single season home run record this year with 267 home runs, which I feel like is somehow getting overlooked here. Stanton led the Yanks with 38 dingers, but Miguel Andujar, Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks, and Aaron Judge each hit 27. Oh and Gleyber Torres chipped in with 24 of his own. Yikes.
  • I think more than anything I just want to beat Aaron Boone’s brains in. It’s bad enough what he did to me and my family back in 2003, but for him to saunter out of the ESPN broadcast booth down into the dugout and think he’s just going to manage the Yankees past the Red Sox? Straight up disrespectful.

  • I would rather listen to Michael McDonald for 8 hours a day then hear that obnoxious, awful, victory chant from John Sterling one more time. THAaAaAaAaAaAa YANKEES WIN is the most obnoxious shit in all of sports and is literally the exact opposite of what they teach you in journalism school. So yea, listen to your teachers and stay in school kids.

Official Prediction

Red Sox in 5

I think the best home field advantage in baseball comes into play as the Red Sox are dominant at home (57-24 at Fenway this year) and the Yankees are 1-6 in their last 7 playoff road games. The Sox bullpen will struggle to keep these games in check, but I think some combo of Sale/Kimbrel/Eovaldi/E-Rod get it done with some help from Price. We know this team can hit, it’s just going to be a matter of keeping the Yanks in check and I think the Sox do it by the skin of their teeth as New York pushes them to the brink.

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