The New York Yankees did exactly what they needed to do, stealing one from the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park in a 6-2 win in game two.
Gary Sanchez went two for five with two home runs and four RBIs. His second homer soared a massive 479 feet and put the game away.
Masahiro Tanaka got the win while David Price once again struggled in the playoffs.
The win saw the Yankees level the American League Division Series (ALDS) at 1-1.
The regular season is not the postseason
Once your team has made the playoffs, your regular season record and ERA do not matter. That is the big knock against Clayton Kershaw in his career. He is one of the most dominant pitchers of all time before the postseason, but he is not quite as good when the games matter most.
Price and Tanaka are perfect examples as well and that was on full display in game two on Saturday. Price's teams have never won a playoff game (0-10) when he has started even though he holds a 143-75 regular season record with a 3.25 ERA.
Price was awful Saturday as he allowed three runs and two homers before he was removed just 1.2 innings into the game. Tanaka was very good, surrendering just one run in five innings of work. Tanaka now has a 1.50 ERA in 30 career postseason innings. Over the last two seasons his playoff ERA stands at 1.38 after he posted a combined 4.28 ERA in his last two regular seasons. What matters is that his team are one win closer to winning the ALDS, not his regular season ERA.
There's an art to piggybacking
Piggybacking is when a team will start a pitcher, have them throw about 75 pitches and then bring in another starter behind them to throw 60 pitches and close out the game. The hope is one pitcher goes five innings and the other finishes the last four.
Many pointed out that Red Sox manager Alex Cora saw Astros skipper A.J. Hinch use starters out of the bullpen to his advantage on the way to a World Series win last year and copied it with Boston this year. He used Rick Porcello in game one and then Eduardo Rodriguez in game two. The issue here is Houston had prepared for that situation for a long time, while the Red Sox kind of did for about three or four weeks.
Porcello and Rodriguez made a grand total of one appearance out of the pen in the minors. Rodriguez had four at the MLB level. To say what the Red Sox are doing is equal to what the Astros did is not entirely accurate. Houston prepared for it for years, the Red Sox kind of implemented it over the last month, which may be why Rodriguez gave up three runs in 1.2 innings in game two and Lance McCullers Jr., Charlie Morton and Brad Peacock went a combined 20.2 innings with a 3.04 ERA and 26 strikeouts in relief outings last postseason.
The split was huge for Yankees
For obvious reasons it was great the Yankees split these two games at Fenway Park.
Stealing a win on the road in a playoff series makes life a whole lot easier, but it is especially big for the Yankees for several reasons.
New York were 6-3 at home against Boston this year. Over the last two postseasons New York are 7-0 at Yankee Stadium in the playoffs. The Bronx Bombers hit 21 more home runs at home this year, scored 55 more runs, batted 22 points higher and got on base at a much better clip as well. This is the best home field advantage in all of baseball and New York could send the Red Sox packing after game four if Boston are not careful.
|Rams´ Robey-Coleman admits he committed penalty on controversial no-call|
|NFL admits they blew the call – Saints coach Payton|
|Terrible no-call, Goff shines – three takeaways from Rams´ win over Saints|
|Lonzo Ball to miss 4-6 weeks with ankle sprain|
|Zuerlein´s overtime kick sinks Saints and sends Rams to Super Bowl|
|Patrick Mahomes could sign NFL´s first $200m contract - reports|
|Harden focused on wins, not personal feats after scoring 48 points|
|I´ve got to work on my soccer skills! - Mavs´ Doncic didn´t know ejection rule|
|Lakers won´t rush LeBron & Rondo back despite Ball injury|
|Harden scores 48 points as Rockets rally past Lakers in OT|
|Devils´ Palmieri replaces Hall on NHL All-Star roster|
|´F*** no!´ - Westbrook on if he´s cool with Embiid|
|Walton has one goal for Lakers-Rockets matchup: Keep Harden under 50 points|
|Marshawn Lynch will continue playing ´if it works out´|
|Pelicans star Anthony Davis out for one to two weeks with sprained finger|
|Jared Goff not worried about Superdome noise: ´When it´s loud, we love it´|
|When it´s loud, we love it - Goff ready for New Orleans noise|
|Brady: Mahomes has had ´spectacular season´|
|DeMarcus Cousins ´felt like a kid on Christmas´ in Warriors debut|
|Celtics´ Kyrie Irving on technical: If someone questions your manhood, you got no choice|
|DeMarcus Cousins scores 14 points in Warriors debut|
|WATCH: Cousins throws down thunderous dunk to open Warriors career|
|Lakers guard Rondo cleared for full-contact practices|
|Chiefs safety Reid expected to play against Patriots|
|NFL receiver Fitzgerald has hole-in-one in round of golf with former president Obama|
|I´m really loving playing this game - Eagles QB Foles not ready to retire|
|Cowboys part ways with offensive coordinator Linehan|
|Payton´s message to Saints fans: Hurry up and make noise|
|Patriots coach Belichick still gets nervous ´every week´|
|NFL playoffs 2019: 10 Opta facts for Patriots v Chiefs|
|NFL Playoffs 2019: 10 Opta facts for Rams v Saints|
|Ref admits error in key foul call on Lonzo Ball in Lakers-Thunder game|
|How James Harden´s 2018-19 numbers compare to his MVP campaign|
|Lakers survive Ball´s gaffe to beat Thunder in OT|
|Warriors´ Durant on Curry: He´s a once-in-a-generation, once-in-a-lifetime talent|
|Patriots owner says Brady is greatest player, not just quarterback, of all time|
|Is Beal better without Wall? Wizards star says it´s ´absolutely nonsense´|
|Rockets C Capela undergoes thumb surgery, expected back after All-Star break|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Irving apologises, Machado´s agent isn´t happy|
|Knicks in woeful shape, but 2019 could still be bright in New York|
|Knicks throw away 19-point lead and lose on last-second goaltending call|
|Tebow invited back to Mets´ major league spring training|
|Kanter´s London absence ´very unfortunate´, says NBA commissioner|
|NBA could swap London for Paris in 2020|
|Spurs coach Popovich uncertain if he will return next season|
|Pistons´ Griffin fined for verbal abuse of official|
|Returning Cousins calls Warriors ´the most hated team in sports´|
|Warriors star Curry sets NBA record|
|Irving dominates in Celtics´ win over Raptors|
|Irving called LeBron this week to apologise|
|Payton on Rams CB Peters: I have great respect for him|
|Rockets star Harden matches Chamberlain with historic performances|
|´#BetAgainstUs´ - Edelman and Pats embracing underdog status|
|Royals pitcher Skoglund suspended for 80 games after testing positive for PEDs|
|Bologna and Banvit seal Champions League play-off spots|
|LeBron James to miss Thunder & Rockets games but nearing practice return|
|NFL playoffs 2019: X-factor for each NFC team|
|Mahomes: Chiefs must not repeat mistakes against Patriots|
|Brown fires back at Arians over ´diva´ comments|
|Shazier will continue rehab with intention of playing again|
|Gregg Williams is Jets´ new defensive coordinator|
|Wizards can compete for playoffs in LeBron-less East despite injuries - Brooks|
|That was a fireworks show - Warriors revel in record-breaking first quarter|
|Warriors set NBA record, Butler´s 76ers rout Timberwolves|
|´I like the fact we beat them´ - 76ers´ Butler revels in win over Timberwolves|
|Warriors score NBA record 51 points in first quarter against Nuggets|
|Panthers owner Tepper doesn´t rule out Newton missing 2019 because of shoulder injury|
|Celtics youngsters say Irving´s callout ´came from a good place´|
|NFL playoffs: Patrick Mahomes v Tom Brady|
|NFL playoffs: Jared Goff v Drew Brees|