Boston Red Sox

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 12: As catcher Jose Trevino #39 of the New York Yankees heads for the clubhouse, Tommy Pham #22 of the Boston Red Sox points towards his dugout after his game winning hit during the 10th inning at Fenway Park on August 12, 2022 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Analytically speaking, the math still doesn’t work in their favor. But if the 2022 Red Sox had played more games like the one they did last night, we’d be focused on October right now.

So what stirred the crowd at Fenway Park last night? A walk-off, 3-2 win over the New York Yankees that required contributions from a Red Sox roster that suddenly looks more “functional” – that’s chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom’s word from the trading deadline – which is to say it has more big league players on the roster. Newcomer Tommy Pham’s hit down the third-base line was the final, decisive blow after the Sox tied the game in the bottom of the ninth and then won it in the bottom of the 10th, but the Sox got an array of performances that – if the team can keep it up – could at least make for an entertaining weekend at Fenway Park.

Of note:

  • Starter Nathan Eovaldi, despite throwing just fastballs on one-third of his pitches, grinded his way through six innings and constantly pitched out of trouble, keeping the Red Sox close as Yankees started Domingo German generally silenced the Sox through six innings. Sometimes pitching is about domination. Sometimes it’s about finding a way to compete, especially when you  missed a chunk of the season to a back issue and still don’t look like yourself. That was the case last night with Eovaldi, who basically used a pick and shovel to consistently dig his way out of trouble and keep the Sox close.
  • J.D. Martinez, who remained with the Sox at the deadline, collected three hits and drive in the first two runs of the game, including the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth. Martinez’ first hit scored Alex Verdugo, who may have been the Sox’ best player on the field throughout the game. Verdugo legged out a hustle double to put himself in scoring position on Martinez’ first hit, then went first to third on Martinez’ game-tying single to put himself at third base with one out in the ninth. He didn’t score in that latter situation, but he ran the bases aggressively and smartly.
  • The bullpen – yes, the bullpen – showed resolve, most notably Matt Barnes, who pitched out of a one-out, two-on situation in the seventh after hitting Aaron Judge in the seventh. Touching 96 with a fastball that had more life than it has in a long, long time, Barnes struck out both Anthony Rizzo and Josh Donaldson to keep the game at 2-1. in the eighth. Ryan Braiser followed with a scoreless, 1-2-3 eighth before Garrett Whitlock posted zeroes over the next two innings. Combined, Barnes, Brasier and Whitlock threw 12-of-15 first-pitch strikes, 41-of-60 pitches for strikes overall and issues just one walk, that by Whitlock, to Judge, who led off the 10th with the ghost runner at second base. First base was open of course, and there were at least two very close pitches on the out part of the plate.

Now, what does that all mean in the long run? Maybe nothing. But for a night at least, Fenway Park had a real heartbeat again in mid-August, which was nice to see.