On Thursday, longtime rivals Red Sox and Yankees faced each other for the first time since MLB's historic London Series. This time, the game was historic, but for other reasons. Boston crushed the Yankees 19-3 at Fenway Park, for the largest win ever in the history of the rivalry. The Red Sox's margin of victory of 16 runs was the highest in any game against New York at Fenway since 2005. The 19 runs and 23 hits were the most the defending World Series champions had recorded against any opponent this season. With their 19 runs on Thursday, the Red Sox also overtook the Yankees for the MLB lead in runs scored.
Let's take a closer look at some of the other impressive numbers from the Red Sox's offensive explosion:
- Eight different Red Sox players had multiple RBI which ties a franchise record. It's the first time they've done that since 1953.
- Eight different Red Sox had multiple hits, including a player who didn't start (Michael Chavis).
- The Red Sox went 9-for-19 with runners in scoring position, a season high for hits with RISP.
In the opener of a four-game series, the Red Sox didn't take long to get on the board as they hit Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka for seven runs in the first inning, and then five more in the fourth. Yankees manager Aaron Boone pulled Tanaka in the fourth, and turned to the limited options he had in the team's bullpen for the last five innings. Boone told reporters that he had only four or five relievers available Thursday because the bullpen was overworked.
Tanaka has struggled against the Red Sox this season, more than any other team he's faced. Facing the Red Sox, Tanaka has a 40.50 ERA, 4:5 strikeout to walk ratio, opponent OPS of 1.785 and an opponent batting average of .593. But against all other teams this season, Tanaka's ERA is 3.56, his strikeout to walk ratio is 98:24, opponent OPS is .690 and opponent batting average is just .237.
Left-hander Stephen Tarpley, right-hander Luis Cessa and catcher Austin Romine combined to close out the game. Tarpley gave up four earned runs, Cessa put up two scoreless innings while Romine gave up three earned runs.
The need for reliable starting pitching ahead of the postseason for the Yankees became more apparent than ever during Thursday's loss. The rotation of Tanaka (4.79 ERA), Domingo German (4.03), James Paxton (4.20), C.C. Sabathia (4.50) and J.A. Happ (5.23) isn't looking like it's going to be enough to go far in the playoffs, especially against AL offenses like the Twins and Astros. In the Yankees last five games, the starters have allowed 40 runs. Also during that span, aside from Tanaka, not a single Yankees starter has lasted longer than four innings. Our own Mike Axisa , and nine out of the ten were starters.
On the offensive side of things, it was Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts who lead his team in the dominant night at the plate. Bogaerts went 4 for 6 with two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored. He's the first Red Sox player in 14 years, since David Ortiz in 2005, with four hits and two home runs in a game against the Yankees.
Boegarts launched the longest homer of his career (according to Statcast) with a 454-foot, three-run blast off Tanaka in the first inning. The 26-year-old also homered in the eighth, bringing his season total to 23 home runs, matching a career-high he set last season., he leads the team in home runs, runs scored (82) and RBI (80).
With Thursday's win, the Red Sox (57-47) enter Friday just one game back of the second American League wild card. The Yankees (66-36) still maintain their AL East first-place lead, with nine and a half games up on the Rays and 10 games up on the Sox. Boston will play another four-game series against the Yankees next weekend, in New York. Then the two teams will face off for the final time in the regular season for a four-game set at Fenway during the first weekend in September.