Who knew the Red Sox could win against their AL East foes? Not only that but their most historic rivals? Both games were structured quite differently for these Red Sox, yet produced important wins regardless. Is there the caveat that Aaron Judge has been sidelined with a toe injury? Yeah, but that’s one big caveat I’d have to grant to excuse how poor the Yankees looked all weekend against what felt like a really deflated Boston squad before Friday. Now? They have confidence again. I won’t go so far as to say it’s full-blown swagger, but Sunday’s matches showed a little of everything the Red Sox need going forward.
Let’s start with Game 1—a bullpen game started by Kaleb “The Ort Cloud” Ort, with Chris Murphy, Nick Pivetta and Chris Martin also shouldering the load. I have to be honest when Gleyber Torres hit his two-run homer in the top of the first, I thought there was no way we’d take the first game. Little did I know every pitcher would bear down to give up just four hits total—yes, that includes the two hits Ort gave up in the first. You know what that does? It keeps your team in the game to compete!
It starts with Devers’ RBI groundout. Adam Duvall then ties the game on a screaming line drive single off the Monster. Then, the sixth inning is where it all came together. Connor Wong has impressed me this season, as he skies a two-out, RBI double off the Monster, scoring Kiké from first. Dugey follows up with an RBI double of his own, then Justin Turner gives the Red Sox a three-run lead driving in Verdugo on an RBI single. You could see the wheels fall off for the Yankees then and there. Yoshida hustling for a stellar triple into the triangle and then scoring on a balk in the seventh did nothing but prove that.
Masataka Yoshida scores on a balk. pic.twitter.com/XDltDjnOU9— The Pesky Report (37-35) (@PeskyReport) June 18, 2023
Red Sox win, 6-2.
Game 2 was the Brayan Bello show. After a shaky first, the firey 24-year-old showcased all the hype and his potential to be a stud in the rotation. 8 K’s, a pickoff, and only one run given up in seven frames.
Brayan Bello catches Josh Donaldson sleeping at 1B! pic.twitter.com/do6Oikkyq3— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) June 19, 2023
Honestly, I don’t have a better adjective to describe Bello and his outing other than electric.
That’s not to say he was the only star out there in Game 2. The defense was the name of the game, too!
Pablo Reyes was perfectly positioned to make an incredible leaping catch on Oswaldo Cabrera’s line drive in the second inning.
Even more importantly, Jarran Duran makes an almost-impossible basket catch in the triangle on Anthony Rizzo to keep a run off the board. Duran made a weird half-non-commitment on Gleyber Torres’s double in the first, which ended up being the only Yankee run scored on the evening, and this catch beyond makes up for that miscue.
Does Reese McGuire intentionally draw catchers’ interference calls? This is at least the third or fourth call drawn by McGuire this season, and he even drew one last season after he came to Boston as well. If it’s intentional knowing what he knows as a catcher on how to draw these calls? That’s just madness.
Winckowski and Jansen toss clean innings a piece and that concludes a stellar Father’s Day for Bostonians.
Red Sox win, 4-1.
Three Studs (of the day)
Brayan Bello (.289 WPA, 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 3 BB, 8 K)
Again, nothing but electric tonight. What honestly makes me even more excited is putting this start in the context of the whole season. Check out this figure.
Brayan Bello gave up 5 ER in his first start of the year on Marathon Monday.— Steve Perrault (@Steve_Perrault) June 19, 2023
In the 10 starts since then he’s averaged 1.8 ER per start. Kid is absolutely filthy. pic.twitter.com/sGpFXKpORE
We all knew from the minors that Bello had the stuff. It’s translating to the Bigs now. Watch out.
Alex Verdugo (4-for-8, 4 runs scored, 1 RBI, 1 BB)
If I had to venture who could be a Red Sox representative at this year’s All-Star game in Seattle might be, Verdugo would be in that conversation (with Yoshida). He isn’t flashing power, but the consistency in his contact and run-producing acumen this season has been a massive jump in his career. We talked a lot in Spring Training that this had to be Verdugo’s breakout season. He’s showing us all up, right now.
Chris Murphy (2.2 IP, 1 H, 3 K)
I know Pivetta got the win in Game 1 by tossing three frames, but hear me out. Murphy doing what he needed to do led the Red Sox to that win. If he lets this game get out of control taking over for Ort, there’s no knowing if that comeback happens. To bare down in your second-ever MLB appearance and shove like he did against the Yankees, color me impressed.
Three Duds (of the day)
Christian Arroyo (0-for-4)
Nothing flashy at all for Arroyo today. Not noticeable on offense or in the field. I guess it’s good not to be noticeable meaning you didn’t commit any errors.
Pablo Reyes (0-for-3)
At least Reyes had one quality highlight.
Kaleb Ort (2.1 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)
I honestly almost put no one here, because Ort did settle down really well after his first inning. I’d even forgive him for that first inning, I’d be space-brained being abruptly called up to start a doubleheader. Still, you can’t let that happen.
Play of Game 1
Look at the arm on this kid! A huge nod to the NESN crew for getting that family a signed ball and jersey from Kenley Jansen, and a signed ball from the whole NESN crew for each kid, and a great memory to make on Father’s Day.
If I had to pick one from the game itself, it’s Connor Wong golfing a really tough sweeper from Michael King to score Kiké Hernandez from first. I gotta see Hernandez’s sprint speed on his hustle home.
Play of Game 2
For me, it has to be Duran’s catch in the triangle. I’m sure the catch probability of that fly ball was severely low, and probably swings momentum far away from the Red Sox if it isn’t made.
Who was the Red Sox Player of the Day in their doubleheader sweep of the Yankees on June 18th?
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