This was ALDS matchup everyone was excited to see, and the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees delivered with a series that had both excitement and memorable moments.
Ultimately, the better team won as the Red Sox punched their ticket to the ALCS.
It proved to be a fairly competitive series that demonstrated each team’s strengths and weaknesses. In the end, Boston’s advantages helped propel them to a series victory and the joy of ending the season of their hated rival.
Here are the winners and losers from Boston’s ALDS victory over the Yankees.
Winner: Andrew Benintendi
In a series with so many stars, Benintendi came into the ALDS with far too little recognition. That will change after he played a pivotal role in sending the Red Sox to the ALCS.
The 24-year-old outfielder delivered in Boston’s Game 1 victory with two base hits and a stolen base. Benintendi’s two runs scored in that game proved to be the difference in the 5-4 win. In game 3, he came through with an even better performance with two hits, two walks, three RBI and two runs scored.
Benintendi slides perfectly into the lineup right behind Mookie Betts, and if Boston’s outfield duo is hot along with J.D. Martinez, this lineup becomes capable of accomplishing anything
Loser: Aaron Boone
Boone and Luis Severino may never provide a concrete answer as to why New York’s star pitcher didn’t warm up until eight minutes before the game. That in itself is something that will cast doubts over Boone, but not nearly as much as Game 3’s in-game decisions.
Severino allowed three runs and a plethora of hits in three erratic innings. Boone made the mistake of keeping Severino in the game after a leadoff single in the fourth inning then finally pulled him after he loaded the bases.
Boone’s disastrous managerial decisions didn’t end there. He turned to Lance Lynn, rather tha Dellin Betances or David Robertson, to face Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi. In a critical moment, Boone left his best relievers on the bench against two great hitters.
Boone was late with the hook in Game 3 and it turned a three-run deficit turned into the worst loss in Yankees postseason history. He didn’t learn from his mistake either, instead, he repeated it in Game 4. Just an inexcusable string of decisions for Boone and now he’ll have an offseason to think about it.
Winner: Nathan Eovaldi
When Boston acquired Eovaldi during the season, it didn’t catch much attention on the national radar. He had been very successful in his stint with the Tampa Bay Rays, but many viewed him as a back-end starter.
That is changing after he dominated the Yankees in Game 3. Once a member of New York’s rotation, Eovaldi has wiped the floor with his former team since his arrival in Boston with a 0.39 ERA and .143 batting average allowed in 23 innings. It started in the regular season, and after Monday’s dominant showing, Eovaldi may become one of New York’s least favorite players and a hero in Boston.
Loser: Boston’s bullpen
The Red Sox won the series and knocked out their rival, so they can celebrate for a little while. But the ALDS also verified concerns about this bullpen.
Craig Kimbrel is a stud and can be counted on in the ninth inning, but we’ve yet to see a sustainable bridge to carry over after Boston’s starting pitcher exits the game. We saw the problem in Game 1 especially, where the middle relievers nearly blew a five-run lead.
This remains a major flaw for the Red Sox and the ALDS did nothing to disprove it. Boston’s front office chose not to address it at the trade deadline. Now it could be its Kryptonite in the ALCS.
Winner: Aaron Judge
Questions lingered entering October about Judge’s wrist and whether he could generate the same power in his swing. While fans only saw him for a short time, Judge demonstrated he is dangerous at the plate.
The 26-year-old carried New York’s offense as much as he possibly could. If not for several of his fellow hitters struggling, this could have been a far different series. Judge hit three home runs in the postseason and finished the ALDS with six hits. Judge rose to the occasion in October with a 1.194 OPS, unfortunately, his teammates did not.
Loser: David Price
Even after a filthy second half of the season in which Price stepped up as Boston’s ace with Chris Sale sidelined, the momentum didn’t carry over into October.
Price recorded just five outs in Game 2 against the Yankees as the home run ball quickly became a problem for him. After his rough outing against New York, Price’s career postseason ERA rose to 5.28, and his reputation took a bigger hit.
Perhaps the Yankees are his Kryptonite and he’ll find more success against the Houston Astros. At this point, that seems unlikely. Fans may just have to accept Price just can’t get the job done in October.
Winner: Brock Holt
While a one-game performance won’t always make a hitter a “winner,” they instantly becoming deserving when they become part of MLB history.
Game 3 started off rather routine for Holt as he picked up a single in his second at-bat. Then Boston started to pound New York’s pitching staff and the 30-year-old utility infielder started racking up hits right and left.
The magic night culminated with a home run in the ninth inning, and suddenly Holt became the first player to ever hit for a cycle in the postseason. There is just something special about baseball in October. Holt’s magical night provides another amazing example.
Loser: Miguel Andujar
After an incredible rookie season, fans felt hopeful that Andujar would become another big bat in their lineup for the postseason. Instead, the rookie fell flat on his face.
It shouldn’t come as a total surprise. October baseball for one of the most storied franchises in sports can put a lot of pressure on a young player. So seeing the 23-year-old get one hit in nine at-bats is understandable. When his defensive struggles became paired with an empty batting average, it just sunk New York even further.
The future is bright for Andujar, but the postseason gave him a tough experience to learn from.
Winner: Rick Porcello
One of the most difficult environments in all of sports is playing on the road in an elimination game. The pressure magnifies even more for a pitcher, and Porcello faced all of that in Game 4 at Yankee Stadium.
Boston’s fourth starter faced a loaded Yankees lineup with everything to play for and a raucous crowd supporting it. If Porcello made any mistake and New York took the lead, everything was likely to spiral out of control.
Instead, the 29-year-old threw a gem. Porcello allowed just four base runners to reach across five innings. Additionally, he held Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton without a single hit. During the one instance when the Yankees started to smell hope, he quickly snuffed it out. When paired with his key relief appearance in Game 1, Porcello was Boston’s most valuable pitcher in this series.
Loser: Angel Hernandez
It should come as no surprise that the umpire who specializes at making everything about himself drew headlines in the ALDS. While he didn’t directly provoke a player into a confrontation during the series, he blessed baseball fans with a series of horrific calls.
Hernandez shouldn’t have been allowed the privilege of working the postseason to begin with, but MLB somehow gave him its most marketable playoff series. It makes it fitting that he became the subject of ridicule after a series of blown calls that replay reviews overturned within seconds in Game 3.
Baseball fans knew what Hernandez would bring as an umpire. Seeing him make horrendous calls is now the norm with him. The responsibility for this embarrassment falls on MLB, and it seems par for the course with their decision making. So this probably won’t change.