(Photo Credit: WBUR)
By Ted Gay – @TedG63
Thank you Craig Kimbrel. Thank you for giving Red Sox Nation an emotional experience they have not felt in five years. That razor-sharp tension that constricts the lungs makes you feel every hair on your arm, every bead of sweat pooling on your body. Each pitch could take ten minutes because you have lost all sense of time. You realize your right hand is twisting your ear like a schoolyard bully as you try to release the tension. The pitcher throws the ball. You stop breathing, and you wait, helplessly, as the batter swings
Kimbrel, by allowing two runs, having the opposing teams fastest player at second, the weight of history against him, the five boroughs screaming, then getting a ground ball, which, if slowed by a single wet blade of grass a millisecond, if released a tick later, if curved further a degree toward right field, if Gleybar Torres had an inch more in his stride, would change the fortunes of the majority of people in the northeast corridor, created exquisite agony.
The Sox will go on to play Houston, and the Yankees will have every single play to haunt them, for the whole cold, dark off-season. It is winter in the Bronx. Two hundred miles to the North, in Boston, it is spring, where dreams are still blooming, and hope is everlasting.
There were two bad signs foretelling Kimbrel’s aborted meltdown. One was a text from Terry Cushman at 2:12 PM saying “my confidence is pretty high.” Terry expecting a Red Sox victory? Bad craziness. The second, before the ninth, when Pete Abraham tweeted that Chris Sale’s eighth inning was a “good tune-up for Saturday.” Come on Pete! Never tweet about the next series before the first one is over.
By pushing Rick Porcello back a day and bombing the Yankees in game three, the Sox had the pitching edge over the Yankees who were offering Big Fat Pitcher as their starter. Fortunately, for Sox fans, both rose to the level of expectations.
It was apparent, over the first two innings, that Big Fat Pitcher, was getting hit hard, but Aaron Boone made the same mistake he did the night before, letting his starter begin the third without anyone warming, which almost caused George Steinbrenner to rise from the grave Stay Puff Marshmello style and stomp his way to the Bronx seeking revenge,.
It is going to be hard for Sox fans, who have been burned by managers since Terry Francona, tainted by chicken and beer, was run from town to trust again, but Alex Cora either knows what he is doing or found some of that Morgan Magic tucked away in a file. Before Big Fat Pitcher waddled out to the mound man, most Sox fans agreed Cora had made rare mistakes starting Eduardo Nunez, Ian Kinsler, and Christian Vasquez. Four innings later we had to swallow that criticism.
As the game continued Cora pushed the right buttons. Pulling Porcello after five, who was near perfect until the last inning, seemed high risk, and caused every Sox fan to have their hearts shoved to the top of their throats. Bad News Barnes continued the Sox mastery over the Yankees, and Ryan Brasier added flash to the domination by getting Gary Sanchez back in the fucking box so he could pop up. Combined with his hacking approach against Kimbrel in the ninth the Yankees should shine Sanchez up nice and pretty this offseason hoping to find someone willing to part with high-end talent for their fractured catcher. Somewhere, Joe Girardi is nodding his head and wearing a self-satisfied grin.
The poorly labeled “wheel of gutless bastards,” came through in the tensest situation, while the author of that term, Tony Mazz, who started the season by gushing over a Giancarlo Stanton home run, was strangely silent on Twitter as the bullpen mowed down Sox hitters and Stanton continually failed in big moments, including with two on and no outs in the ninth, when Kimbrel could not find the plate and later claimed the baseballs were wet, which, if true, was probably caused by home plate umpire Angel Hernandez crumbling to pressure and peeing his pants, than a Yankee conspiracy Gutless bastard? I think Mazz is the man who fits that term like a glove.
I don’t think Boone survives this. He was a lousy hire, to begin with, and he had an Angel Hernandez like bad series. Boone being fired is not good news for the Sox unless they hire Boone’s former colleague Suzyn Waldman to manage their nine.
It was said, for the Sox to win a series this autumn Alex Cora would have to manage perfectly. This was an excellent start.
BENNY & THE BETTS PODCAST (EP. 89)
RED SOX OWN THE YANKEES AGAIN! LEON OR VAZQUEZ? HOLT OR KINSLER? HOW DOES CORA LINEUP HIS ROTATION AGAINST HOUSTON?
Also avail on #itunes #spreaker #stitcher #spotify