NEW YORK - The Red Sox romped in a pivotal Game 3 of the American League Division Series on Monday night, pushing the Yankees to the brink with a 16-1 win and setting up a potential clincher that would send the Sox to the Championship Series on Tuesday. The Astros await the winner of this series after finishing off a sweep of the Indians in the other ALDS on Monday.
Here are three takeaways from a thorough Sox win in the Bronx:
1. What a thrashing. What a night for Red Sox fans to soak in. Yankee Stadium was empty by the eighth inning. Brock Holt, seeing his first action of the postseason, hit a home run off Austin Romine in the ninth. That's Austin Romine, the catcher. The homer gave Holt a cycle, the second of his career, after one in the regular season in 2016. He's the first player in major league history to hit for the cycle in a playoff game. How's this for a measure of how dominant the Sox offense was: if Holt had not homered in the ninth inning, the Sox may have become just the third team in major league history to score at least 14 runs in a postseason game without a home run. The most runs any team has scored in a postseason game without a homer is 15.
2. Nate Eovaldi was still throwing 100 and fooling Yankees hitters in the seventh inning Monday night in a dominant performance that made Luis Severino look juvenile in comparison. Eovaldi's night also meant the shaky Sox bullpen never even had to enter the equation. Eovaldi was efficient and dominant, garnering a gentle wave from a baffle Gleyber Torres in the seventh for a swinging strike. For just the third time in his career, Eovaldi went at least seven innings, allowed one run or fewer and walked none. His line: seven innings, five hits, one run, no walks and five strikeouts on 97 pitches. The only two other times were both in July, once with the Rays, once with the Red Sox. One of Eovaldi's best traits is his ability to keep the ball in the park, and the Yanks never got anything going, never mind hit a home run.
3. Aaron Boone's management of the fourth inning was terrible, but Boston also deserves huge credit for cashing in on an opportunity. The Sox already had a 3-0 lead and Luis Severino did not look sharp. It would have been defensible to pull Severino before the start of the frame, but, with the Nos. 7-9 hitters due up for the Sox, waiting until the top of the order was also defensible. The problem is that once Holt and Christian Vazquez singled on consecutive pitches, both fastballs, Boone didn't have someone ready for Jackie Bradley Jr. Bradley may be inconsistent, but he has pop, and in this case, drew a walk on four pitches as Severino simply lost command. On came righty Lance Lynn with the bases loaded and none out - a ridiculous ask for any pitcher, never mind someone nowhere near the top of the totem pole and who is not a strikeout specialist. The results were predictable and the Red Sox, to their credit, capitalized in a way the Yankees did not in, say, Game 1. The Sox scored seven runs in the frame and sent 11 men to the plate, going up 10-0. Why Boone didn't make a move sooner to get Severino out of the game, and why Lynn was the choice, will linger if the Sox win the series.
Bonus: Angel Hernandez, one of baseball's most disliked umpires, may have had the worst night of all at first base. Four of his calls were challenged, and three of them were overturned. Hernandez calls have been overturned more frequently during the regular season as well, per ESPN's Mark Simon.
Over the last 3 regular seasons, an Angel Hernandez call as 1B umpire went to replay review 18 times
The call was overturned 14 times (78% of time)
Overturn rate during that time is 60% - so he's not massively above the norm- but he is above it
— Mark Simon (@MarkASimonSays) October 9, 2018
Hernandez is to be behind the plate in Game 4 of the American League Division Series on Tuesday, with Rick Porcello scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox and CC Sabathia for the Yankees.