Before we get too crazy, let’s remember something here: the Red Sox still haven’t won anything yet.
And so, while the Red Sox showed us all something last night by doing something no team has done since the start of last postseason – win on the road at Yankee Stadium – let’s remember that the 2017 Sox showed some sign of life, too. The Sox were down in the American League Division Series, 2-0, when they came home and trounced the Houston Astros in Game 3, only to be eliminated from the postseason the following day.
This team, of course, will live until at least Thursday, but such is life in the playoffs. And thankfully the Red Sox seem to know it.
“Special night and a good night all around for the Red Sox,” Brock Holt told reporters. “Hopefully, we can carry this over.”
If they don’t, we’ll look back on this game the way New Yorkers look back on Game 3 of the 2004 American League Championship Series.
Yeah, we blew them out on their field to move within one win of clinching the series. …And then we didn’t win again.
Should you feel good about the Red Sox today? Of course. The Sox went to New York tied at 1-1 in this best-of-5 AL Division Series, but it felt like they were behind. Boston’s bullpen was exposed in Game 1 and David Price was stripped naked (again) in Game 2, and the Sox looked a lot like the team that has been bounced from the playoffs the last two seasons. Too many members of the Sox little soft and downright scared, and there is no longer time for incremental growth.
Following last night’s game, Mookie Betts noted that the Red Sox didn’t win a postseason game in 2016, then won one last year, that the Sox have now won two. Is that progress? Sure. In theory. But we all know that nobody wants to wait until next year for the Sox to win three.
Or, more importantly, more.
In the short term, the big winners last night were Alex Cora and Dave Dombrowski, not necessarily in that order, because the most impactful members of the Red Sox were newcomers to this game and this series. Holt, Rafael Devers and Christian Vazquez did not have a series start between them entering Game 3, then went a combined 8-for-18 with seven RBI and six runs scored in Game 3. Eovaldi looked like Curt Schilling after Dombrowski acquired him instead of bullpen help at the trading deadline, a move that looked downright stupid after Game 1.
Then Dombrowski’s guy Price melted again in Game 2, which makes Eovaldi look even more important.
In the end, should you celebrate last night? Absolutely. The Red Sox looked glassy-eyed after Game 2, leading all to the point of exasperation. Now they look tougher than they’ve looked at any point in recent years. But Cora – more than anyone – knows that the playoffs are a day-tot-day existence in the major leagues, and he knows that the game’s longest-standing clichés are truer now than ever.
First, the best and worst part about baseball is that there’s basically game everyday.
And second, as the Yankees will tell you, momentum is only as good as your next starting pitcher.