Is Kyrie Irving Planning to Leave the Celtics?
The Boston Celtics are worried that Kyrie Irving will leave instead of resign with them. Should the Celtics be worried?
What do you get when a pair of teams square off with two of the top pitching staffs and score the most runs? You get a pitchers’ duel, wild comebacks, stars being stars, momentum swings that look like earthquake readings, and one of the most fun series in the best rivalry in baseball.
After losing the first two games, the Yankees shrugged off six innings of shut-out ball with their second big rally of the series.
Joe Kelly threw a wild pitch that allowed the fourth and tying run to score and put the go-ahead tally at second base for Giancarlo Stanton. Fans of both teams sensed an air of inevitability.
But Kelly induced an inning-ending ground out from the Yankees’ star, setting up JD Martinez’ first big rivalry moment. Hanley Ramirez told Martinez he needed to hit a home run right then, and so he did, poking one just beyond a leaping Aaron Judge to salvage the third game of the set, 5-4.
When the dust cleared from the series, Boston and New York sat atop not only the AL East, but all of baseball, with identical 26-11 records.
Each team has won three of their six head-to-head battles thus far. They are ranked first and second in runs scored and second and third in team pitching (by ERA).
Gary Sanchez and Mookie Betts were held without a home run, but the expected home run leaders, Stanton, Judge, Martinez, and Ramirez, each knocked at least one ball out of the park. The teams are tied for the fourth most homers in the major leagues with 51 each.
Both closers posted a save. There was a pitchers’ duel in game one, with the Yank’s Luis Severino putting up 11 strikeouts in a six-inning stint. Besides Kelly’s rally-ending confrontation with Stanton, both pitching corps offered an array of door-slamming performances.
“Without a doubt,” said Hanley Ramirez, when asked if the Yankees and Red Sox were the two best teams in baseball. “Neither team gives up and neither team is ever out of a game.”
Houston (24-15) and the Los Angeles Angels (23-14) might offer an argument before the season is done, but it is hard to argue that the beasts of the east are not on top of the MLB world right now.
The electricity in Yankee Stadium this week felt like a post-season match-up. Crowds were cheering and moaning with every play… and it is only May.
This is what happens when a team is full of both established and up-and-coming stars. Every at-bat is a potential moment. There is virtually nobody in the lineup a pitcher should feel comfortable facing in a clutch situation- for either team.
Before the season started, there was speculation that two teams from the same division win 100 games for the first time in history. Nothing they have shown so far has diminished that possibility.
Both teams are filled with young players and with that comes some uncertainty. To expect both teams to continue along at a .700 pace is probably too much to ask, but it doesn’t seem out of the question.
For the Yankees, there are others who are ready to step up. In fact, two of their star rookies are supposed to be injury replacements.
Brandon Drury is batting .359 over 12 minor league rehab games, but the Yankees are in no hurry to replace rookie sensation Miguel Andujar with the incumbent third baseman just yet.
First baseman Greg Bird says he hopes to be back on the field by the end of the month. The Yankees have platooned Tyler Austin and veteran Neil Walker at first in his absence. Austin’s performance has tailed off of late, but Walker is hitting .375 over his last seven games.
With Bird back, Walker has no home as Gleyber Torres is fixed at second. Some tough lineup decisions are coming, none of which is likely to slow the Yankees’ train.
Dustin Pedroia and pitcher Stephen Wright are not real close to returning but offer options down the road should Boston need them.
Both teams have to protect against a post-series lull. Boston faces a struggling Toronto Blue Jays team that, despite losing six of their last ten games and sporting a 3-7 record against the Red Sox and Yankees, remains above .500 on the season at 20-18.
Oakland visits Yankee Stadium to face New York.
It seems almost criminal that we have to wait until June 29 for the next Yankees-Red Sox showdown.