Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4) and CC Sabathia (5-5) are set to tangle as the Boston Red Sox (58-47) look for a series win against the New York Yankees (66-37).
Now, if you read last night’s post, you know that my faith in Andrew Cashner wasn’t exactly, ah, unshakeable. Cashner, however, gave no indication that he found my lack of faith disturbing as he went out and tossed six and two thirds manful innings en route to earning his first victory in a Red Sox uniform. And, if you watched the game, you also saw how the offense did what this now-1st-in-the-league-in-runs-scored offense can do: they scored them some runs, including three dingers from Mookie (helping him, incredibly, Make a Wish come true – move over Paul O’Neill!) and this gorgeous JD Martinez outta-stater. Truly, spectacular sights to behold.
Of course I saw none of this – I only heard that it happened. Oh yes, I listened to the game via the call on the WEEI sports radio network featuring none other than the great Joe Castiglione and the equally venerable Sean McDonough. This was a pleasurable experience – listening to two masters ply their trades over the airwaves always is – but it’s not a particularly visual one. And why didn’t I watch the game? Well, because it seems that Sling TV (yep, I’m a slinger) got into a tiff with the YES network, which carries the game to the exclusion of all other outlets in my geographic area, and decided to drop them mere hours before the game. Of course, the Yanks were also blacked out on mlb.com because they’re supposed to be on locally, and neither Hulu TV nor YouTube TV were carrying the game live. This chain of events led me to watch, even as I listened to the call on WEEI, Cyfair Evans and Cyfair Coop clash in the Junior NBA Global Championship Regional, none of which I even knew existed before last night. Meh. Still better than Spectrum.
But what are we to make of today, as the CC Sabathia farewell tour pulls into Fenway Park as the Red Sox cling to life in the division race? For a moment, try and forget that the age gap between ERod and CC is almost as wide (well, not really) as that between Leonardo DiCaprio and Camila Morrone (don’t listen to the haters, Camila, age is just a number – that is, until Leo’s 80 and you’re 58 – I could see differences becoming conveniently irreconcilable at that point) According to Fangraphs, dating back to last season, Sabathia is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA against the Red Sox in four outings, only one of which came at Fenway Park. In his lone Fenway outing, Sabathia only lasted three innings, giving up three runs, all of them earned, in the process. That outing, however, came during Boston’s sweep of the Yankees in early August of last year, and the quick hook after only three innings was more indicative of Boone’s desperation in the face of the 2018 Boston juggernaut than CC’s ability to get outs. Well, mostly. All in all, though, CC hasn’t been terrible over the past two seasons against Boston, but he hasn’t been dominant, either.
As for ERod and his one-behind-league-leading-Lance-Lynn 12 wins, the former of whom, by the way, I predicted on this podcast would be in the Cy Young conversation at some point this year, this game is big. Not only is Boston attempting to make the Yankees feel pressure from a team that’s not the Tampa Bay Rays, but with a win, ERod could equal his career high in wins set just a year ago, and all before the end of July. While there’s no doubt ERod’s had a good year so far – just look at the breathless articles about how he’s the ace of the staff – I’d ask you to consider this: according to baseballreference.com, in 15 of his twenty starts this season, the Red Sox have scored six or more runs and he’s only won ten of those games. Doubtless, the bullpen is responsible for a couple of those five no-decisions, but the fact remains that ERod is 2-3 when Boston scores 3-5 runs, and 0-1 when they score two or fewer. By traditional metrics, ERod is having a very good year, and this one may very well go down as his best, but once you look deeper, a more complicated narrative emerges.
Today’s game feels like it’ll be different than the last two – a little tighter, a little more nip-and-tuck. I’m looking for the Yankees’ offense to assert itself a little more and for Boston’s to come back a bit down to Earth. That said, while CC’s been relatively durable this year, I have to like ERod’s 12 wins and Boston’s penchant for scoring in bunches when he pitches. Edge to the Red Sox.