In a September sweep of the Yankees at Fenway Park, there was no shortage of moments for the Red Sox to celebrate. The most important takeaway from Sunday’s 9-2 blowout, though, was the fact that Clay Buchholz looked strong in his second start back from the DL, offering further evidence that he has returned as a pitcher capable of being a postseason difference-maker for a team that is steamrolling towards the playoffs.
The Sox took advantage of a shaky outing from Ivan Nova, who gave up five runs (four earned) and exited in the fifth inning without recording an out in the frame. Nova walked four batters, threw a wild pitch and hit Mike Carp, the last batter he faced, with the bases loaded to bring home a run.
Buchholz gave up one run, unearned, on just two Yankee hits over six innings. The fact that he pitched into the sixth, and effectively, was a significant positive in itself, as he was held to just 74 pitches in his first outing after returning from the DL.
Buchholz did struggle with his command: in four of his six innings, he either walked or hit the leadoff batter. Double plays helped keep him out of trouble, especially in the third inning, when he put men on first and second with one out but got a grounder to second for an inning-ending twin kill.
Overall, though, the fact that Buchholz has now thrown 11 innings without an earned run since returning to the rotation is what matters most to the Sox. After missing three months with a shoulder injury, he’s stepped right back onto the field without any significant problems. Indeed, he’s dropped his ERA from 1.71 before landing on the DL to 1.51 now — the lowest mark by any starter with at least 90 innings pitched since Bob Gibson‘s 1.12 mark in 1968.
With Sunday’s win, the Sox finish 13-6 against Yankees on the year, making them the first team since the 1976 Orioles to win 13 games against the Yankees. That’s made a significant difference in the division race, as the Yankees trailed the Sox by 11 1/2 games entering Sunday.
WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX
- Mike Napoli hit his 22nd home run of the year in the first inning, a towering drive that soared into the center field stands and brought home David Ortiz as well. That was his fifth homer in 13 September games.
Seven of Napoli’s 22 homers this year have come against the Yankees (against seven different pitchers). Three of those came earlier this month, when he went deep against Boone Logan on Sept. 6, then did it twice in the next day’s game.
Napoli is hitting .375 against the Yankees on the year, his second-highest average against any team he’s faced at least three times. Thanks to those seven homers and three doubles, he’s also slugging .818 against them.
This isn’t a new phenomenon for Napoli. Over the course of his career, he’s hitting .340/.454/.647 with 12 homers against the Yankees.
- Daniel Nava went 4-for-5, tying a career high with four hits for just the fifth time in his career. It was also his fifth multi-hit game in September. He’s now hitting .400 with a .461 OBP since August 8.
Nava’s .392 OBP on the year is the fifth-best in the AL, trailing only David Ortiz, Joe Mauer, Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. Sox manager John Farrell had no shortage of praise for Nava before Sunday’s game.
“I think any time there’s a willingness to take constructive feedback and work as hard as he has to overcome maybe a deficiency of the moment, it’s a guy you root for, because this is a story is like no other in the game,” Farrell said. “To perform at the level he is right now, this is something that no one could ever foresee. And the work that he’s put in, he’s the one is deserving of all the credit that comes his way.”
- Leading 3-1 in the fourth inning, the Sox decided to be daring on the bases. Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole home as Xander Bogaerts stole second, giving them a 4-1 cushion.
The first time the Sox stole home this season, it was the speedier Shane Victorino executing the play on July 23. Saltalamacchia has just three stolen bases this season, and those three account for 75 percent of his career total. But the double steal worked perfectly – albeit with some help from Brendan Ryan, who bobbled the ball – as Bogaerts drew the throw to second, allowing Saltalamacchia to take home with no trouble.
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX
- Napoli broke Mark Bellhorn‘s single-season strikeout record, swinging over a slider from Adam Warren in the fifth inning for his 177th of the year and then watching a low slider from Joba Chamberlain for strike three in the sixth.
Napoli didn’t agree with the latter call, and his argument with home plate umpire Ron Kulpa got him ejected from the game for the first time in his career.
Ian talks with Chris about the NFL offseason and specifically what the Pats have done and will do. He talks about NFL free agency, if Brandon Spike will come back to New England, all things NFL Draft and more in an extensive interview.
in hour 2 of NFL Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss some news from around the league including the Philip Rivers situation in San Diego, if the Titans may sign Rivers, where Marcus Mariota may end up, and what the Jets will do. Price talks with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport about all things NFL offseason and the draft. Finally, the guys touch on if the NFL is over-saturating fans with too much coverage all year round now.
Greg and Chris talk a ton of NFL Draft in hour 1 of the show. They discuss what the Pats might do with their early picks and get Mike Petraglia's thoughts on the issue as well.
Greg Dickerson and John Tomase discuss the amazing season for the Celts and if they have any chance against Lebron and the Cleveland Cavs in a seven game series. If they do, HOW ... how do they get it done?
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Xander had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to get the Red Sox on top of the Baltimore Orioles 3-2, he talked with Joe and Dave after the game about what his thought process during the at-bat was and the excitement of a walk-off.
Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
The awesomely knowledgeable Fluto Shinzawa calls DJ, Naoko and Pete to talk about his thoughts on the future of the B's. He discusses his column from earlier this week on Cam Neely wanting to give Claude the ax earlier in the season but not getting the ok. Fluto shares his thoughts on Chiarelli's firing, the future for Claude and where the Bruins should go from here. He also gives his opinion on potential moves the team can make, who would fit in here, his thoughts on the NHL playoffs so far and more.
In the final hour of the "midseason finale" as DJ likes to call it, the crew discuss more about the future of the Bruins franchise, the possible power struggle in the front office and who should be the head coach going forward. They talk to intelligent and talented Fluto Shinzawa about all of these thing and more in an excellent interview, and finally, DJ says THANK YOU!
DJ, Naoko and Pete get into the huge week for the Bruins that saw the franchise move on from GM Peter Chiarelli. They discuss why that was done and if they agree. What does this mean for Claude? They talk about Claude and if he can exist here. If not, who would work in Boston? They also get into the NHL Draft Lottery last night and talk to ESPN Boston's Joey "National" McDonald live from Tampa, Florida.
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The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
Gary, Gerry and Kirk opened the show by discussing the Olympics in Boston.
Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Dale, Michael and Jerry discuss the Celtics loss in game one, and whether or not they can steal game two before returning to Boston on Thursday.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound you may have missed.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
Mikey, Lenny, and Erin talk about the Sox 7-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Patriots Day and the Sox hold on first place in the AL East. Also, the Celtics trail the Cavs 1 Game to 0 in their 1st Round series and the 2015 Boston Marathon is in the books.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
Ben and Alex break down Leg 1 of the quarter finals of the Champions League and talk about some of the most interesting transfer rumors.
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