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.
Greg and Chris talk with Mike Reiss from ESPN Boston in hour 2 of NFL Sunday to discuss a variety of offseason happenings with the Pats and throughout the league. Greg and Chris also get into the NFL Draft and where Mariota and Winston will go.
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.
In the first hour of the show, Greg and Chris discuss the news coming out of the owners' meetings this week and rule changes. Belichick's blow-up over the league not wanting to spend on endzone cameras was well documented and the guys react. They also talk about the Jets ridiculous tampering charges, free agents still lingering out there, where Stevan Ridley will land and the RB position in New England. Dickerson and Price briefly discuss the adventures of Tom Brady before being joined by WEEI.com's Mike Petraglia to talk all things Pats in the offseason.
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.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
We talk to Chris Mannix from SI to break down the C's acquisition of Isaiah Thomas and the crazy trade deadline in the rest of the NBA.
Joe and Alex talked with the Sox AGM about the state of the team as Opening Day approaches.
Mut, Tomase, and Bradford kick things off talking about Shane Victorino taking offense to people reading into some comments he made about trading for Cole Hamels. They also discuss Blake Swihart and how soon he could be up if Christian Vazquez starts the season on the DL.
Joe Kelly joined the Hot Stove show where he talked about being ready for his next spring training start after a biceps ailment forced him out of his last outing, he talks about his NCAA brackets and how teammate Wade Miley has a perfect bracket still.
Peter Chiarelli joined the Sunday Skate crew to talk about the Bruins playoff push heading into the final handful of games of the regular season. Chiarelli talked about avoiding some of the overly negative feedback he gets while realizing that the team does have real issues. He discusses what went down at the trade deadline and if he was happy with the outcome, Lucic having a down year and underperforming, the salary cap and if he considers it as big of an issue as it's been made out to be and what the future holds for the team.
It's a big hour #2 for the Sunday Skate dudes - they talk about the B's defenseman and what the future looks like at that position, with both moves the team can make and younger guys in the AHL. They also get into the Bruins philosophy on bringing guys up and sending them back down and how players deal with that. Finally, the boys are joined by Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli to discuss EVERYTHING.
The Sunday Skate crew gets the show going discussing the Bruins big, impressive victory over the NY Rangers yesterday. What can you take from that game? According to LB - Lyndon Byers - who called the guys from the road, not a lot. LB drops a dime on what was going on with the Rangers yesterday. DJ and Joe discuss Claude's lines and groupings and the importance of Ryan Spooner. They also get into Lucic, his contributions this year and if he can turn things around.
The latest feud between Shank and Papi was discussed.
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.
John Farrell has named Clay Buchholz the starter for Tuesday's opener. Koji and Christian Vasquez are already ruled out. Vasquez on the 60 day DL.
Wrestlemania was a trial run for Super Bowl 50. More Christian dog stuff. Superintendent in Chief William Gross of the BPD deals with some idiotic protesters after the fatal shooting in Roxbury on Friday night.
Shawn Thornton is now a member of the Panthers, who come to town tomorrow night. Thornton spoke about Claude Julien's control of the Bruins locker room, and his own team playing his former team on Tuesday night.
As the testimony of Hernandez' fiancee wrapped up today, we checked in with attorney Michael McCann for all the latest developments and analysis.
We wrap up the day with the best in sound that you may have missed throughout the day.
We listen in on Adam Shefter's deflategate report on NFL Live on ESPN, and discuss when we can expect this whole mess to come to a head.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Mikey, Mut, and Lucy are talking about all things New England sports, the Red Sox spring training, more Darrelle Revis and Jets talk, and some Bruins mixed in.
Dino, Gerry and Kirk talk about Kirk's massage and crap all over Sausage.
Ben and Adam finish the odyssey that is the history of Wrestlemania. Wrestlemanias 21-30 are discussed and analyzed.
Mike Mulloy joins Chris in the studio to talk Raw and Wrestlemania.
The guys discussed the disgusting protests at the scene of Officer Moynihan's shooting.More from this show
The top stories of the day as recounted by Kirk Minihane.More from this show
Mike Reiss calls the guys to talk about the offseason news for the Pats. He talks about the Pats/Jets tampoering fiasco, free agency, where he sees Ridley and Connolly ending up, if the Patriots would be interested in Reggie Wayne and more.More from this show