The Boston Red Sox sucked all the drama out of their game three matchup against the New York Yankees, thrashing their rivals 16-1 on Monday.
Boston scored seven runs in the fourth inning, going on to take a 2-1 lead in their American League Division Series (ALDS).
The Red Sox pounded out 18 hits, led by Brock Holt, who hit for the cycle – the first in postseason history – and drove in five runs.
The offensive explosion unfortunately overshadowed a great starting performance by Nathan Eovaldi, who allowed only one run and five hits in seven innings.
1B:— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2018
Welcome to Brocktober. pic.twitter.com/nKOgERVTNP
Cora's surprise starters pay off big
Red Sox manager Alex Cora shuffled his lineup on Monday, putting Holt at second, and also giving third baseman Rafael Devers and catcher Christian Vazquez their first starts of the series. The trio made Cora look like a genius. Holt finished the cycle in dramatic fashion, homering in the ninth inning.
"That's the first one ever?" a surprised Holt asked a TBS reporter after the game.
Holt, Devers and Vazquez combined to go eight-for-18 at the plate, with seven RBIs and six runs scored. Each made the case for more playing time in the postseason, but who do you sit? For now, the three players will have to bide their time on the bench and wait for a chance to play. As they showed on Monday, they are ready to deliver when Cora calls.
runs!— MLB (@MLB) October 9, 2018
Red Sox do a lot of little things right
Boston's powerful lineup (an MLB-leading 5.40 runs per game) and formidable starting pitching draws all the attention, but behind the scenes, the Red Sox do a lot of little things right. In the third inning, Mookie Betts aggressively went from first to third on Andrew Benintendi's single to left field, something that obviously is not done very often. That also allowed Benintendi to move to second on left fielder Andrew McCutchen's throw to third. Betts then scored on a sac fly and Benintendi later scored on a groundout, which was only possible because he had advanced on Betts' charge to third. That is the very definition of manufacturing two runs.
Another thing the Red Sox seemed to do well Monday was defensive positioning. The Yankees hit several hard shots that went right at defenders. That might be partly bad luck, but Boston probably deserve some credit for putting players in the right spots. Speaking of strategy, it is clear Vazquez and Eovaldi had a great plan to attack the Yankees hitters. Baserunning, defensive positioning and pitch selection are often overshadowed by three-run home runs, but they can often make the difference between winning and losing.
Boston in command … but don't count the Yankees out
Boston go into game four seemingly in control of this series. They will start 2016 AL Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello, who will go against CC Sabathia. But do not count the Yankees out. Sabathia has vast postseason experience (22 starts dating to 2001). If he can get a good five innings and the Yankees turn to their strong bullpen, the Sox could be in trouble.
On the other side of the equation, the Yankees' bats are overdue for their own offensive explosion, having mostly been held in check this series. The Yankees have been both hot and cold against Porcello this season. On August 3, he pitched a complete-game one-hitter in a 4-1 victory at Fenway. But the Yankees scored five runs (on eight hits) off Porcello in 5.1 innings May 9 in New York. He also pitched seven scoreless (on two hits) against them in April in Boston. Which Yankees team will show up Tuesday – the fearsome lineup that hit an MLB-record 267 home runs this season? Or the one that scored one run on five hits in game three?
|Dodgers to face Red Sox in World Series after beating Brewers|
|Sale: Hospital visit was because of belly button ring|
|Brewers force game seven against Dodgers in NLCS|
|Price leads Red Sox past Astros and into World Series|
|Hinch says Altuve would be out with injury in regular season|
|Bradley homers again, Red Sox take 3-1 lead over Astros|
|Dodgers on cusp of World Series after beating Brewers|
|Brewers remove Miley after one batter against Dodgers|
|MLB investigated alleged Astros sign stealing, found no wrongdoing|
|Red Sox´s Sale won´t start game five of ALCS|
|Bellinger seals dramatic win as Dodgers level up NLCS|
|Red Sox move ahead of Astros in ALCS|
|Brewers blank Dodgers to take 2-1 NLCS lead|
|Red Sox ace Sale released from hospital, still set for game five|
|Red Sox level series against Astros|
|Red Sox ace Sale admitted to hospital with stomach illness|
|Astros win ALCS opener against Red Sox|
|Turner helps Dodgers level series with Brewers|
|Brewers trump Dodgers in NLCS opener|
|Yankees suffer blow as Gregorius to undergo surgery|
|Astros SS Carlos Correa still dealing with back pain: ‘I know every time I swing and miss it’s going|
|Sabathia unhappy with umpire Hernandez|
|Red Sox edge Yankees to win ALDS|
|Red Sox crush Yankees to take 2-1 series lead|
|Holt becomes first player ever to hit for cycle in the playoffs|
|Dodgers overcome Braves to reach NLCS|
|Yankees starter Sabathia ´definitely´ wants to play next year|
|Springer homers twice as Astros sweep Indians|
|Braves stay alive against Dodgers|
|Brewers complete sweep of Rockies|
|Yankees level series against Red Sox|
|Cole helps Astros take 2-0 ALDS lead|
|Dodgers take 2-0 series lead over Braves|
|Red Sox edge rivals Yankees in game one of ALDS|
|Brewers on brink of NLCS after shutting out Rockies|
|World Series champs Astros beat Indians in ALDS opener|
|Dodgers blank Braves in game one of NLDS|
|Brewers top Rockies in NLDS opener|
|Yankees´ Happ to start ALDS opener against Red Sox|
|Yankees reach ALDS with win over Athletics|
|Cubs´ Russell suspended for 40 games by MLB|
|Orioles let go of GM Duquette hours after severing ties with manager|
|Maddon will return to Cubs in 2019, but no extension talks yet|
|Rockies edge Cubs in wildcard game|
|Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will not start NLDS opener|
|Molitor fired by Twins a year after making MLB playoffs|
|Buehler leads Dodgers past Rockies|
|Brewers edge Cubs to win NL Central|
|Cubs, Brewers, Dodgers and Rockies force tiebreaker games|
|Scioscia won´t return as Angels manager next season|
|Bedlam in National League with wildcard spots undecided|
|Yankees set single-season MLB home run record|
|Sabathia suspended for five games in 2019 after Rays incident|
|Dodgers, Brewers stay alive in divisional races|
|Rockies, Cubs now in full control of own destiny|
|Yankees´ Sabathia misses out on $500,000 after being ejected|
|Brewers, Cubs clinch playoff spots in crowded NL|
|Rockies´ Marquez strikes out first eight batters to tie MLB record|
|Gibbons to leave Blue Jays at end of season|
|Brewers benefit from Pirates´ trade deadline acquisition of Archer|
|Astros become first defending champions to reach 100 wins since 1990 Athletics|
|Angels star Ohtani to undergo Tommy John surgery|
|American League postseason picture becomes clear|
|Brewers´ Yelich active after elbow hit|
|Cubs move closer to clinching NL Central|
|Astros, Yankees and Indians record dramatic wins|
|Braves clinch first NL East title since 2013|
|Cardinals keep pace in wildcard race with win over Giants|
|Tigers´ Martinez will play final game on Saturday before retiring|
|Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister after four seasons|