Game 3 was everything you could ask for from Boston. The Red Sox fired on all cylinders; the offense found its spark, the defense looked sharp, and Nathan Eovaldi pitched like a seasoned vet in his postseason debut.
After the disaster that was Game 2, it was hard to feel hopeful heading into the Bronx on an offensive slump to face arguably the Yankees best arm in Luis Severino. Though it’s easy to point fingers at Price, Saturday was an all-around sloppy game. Going down 3 early and only managing to muster up 2 total runs was both disappointing and discouraging. It’s no secret that relying on the Red Sox bullpen is a recipe for disaster, which is why Eovaldi’s start tonight was so crucial.
Game 3 wasn’t just a win, but a dominant win that provided some reassurance for the remainder of Boston’s postseason play. Nathan Eovaldi was everything you could ask for going 7 innings, 5 K’s and giving up just one run, bringing his ERA against the Yankees to a whopping 0.39. The Red Sox desperately needed a quality start from their pitching staff, delaying the relievers from entering the game as long as possible, and Eovaldi more than delivered.
After a weak offensive outing Saturday, Game 3’s lineup had a much needed revamp with the addition of Rafael Devers, Brock Holt and Christian Vazquez. In the last two weeks, Devers made an excellent campaign for a roster spot with 10 hits, 10 RBI’s and 4 home runs. His absence from the lineup in the first two games was felt, with Eduardo Nunez running around the infield like it was his first time on the diamond. Devers’ bat was a welcome change, and it was also a relief to see him on defense after Nunez’s several defensive blunders on Saturday. The 21-year-old Devers had the first hit of the game and stole a base before scoring the first of the night’s many runs. Brock Holt was swinging his hips all over the place, hitting for the first postseason cycle in MLB history. Holt also made a statement on defense, stopping a ball drilled by Gardner and flipping it to Bogaerts at second with Pedroia -like essence. Vazquez was added considering his ability to hit righties (180 to 47 hits righty vs lefty), and he drove in the first run of the night to begin the onslaught.
The three new additions contributed 8 of the Sox 18 hits, and drove in 6 combined runs. The lineup shift was just another reminder of how good Alex Cora has been for this team. He’s a smart manager who seems incredibly in-tune with his team. When something isn’t working, he’s able to recognize it and isn’t afraid to make changes.
Something sparked for the Sox on the short plane ride from Boston to New York. There seemed to be a little fire under their asses tonight, perhaps the realization that two quick games and they could be going home in the first round for the third time in three years.
Sox rout the Yanks 16-1.
Don’t let us win tomorrow.