You can exhale. Taking the final two games from the Yankees in somewhat dramatic style made it a little easier to deal with Monday morning.
Photo courtesy of USA Today
Let's sort through some of the things we learned during the just-completed series against the Yankees.
NO ONE IS CATCHING THE YANKEES - This will not be the reverse of 1978. Concede the fact that they're going to stroll their way to the finish line and focus on getting to the playoffs.
THE YANKEES ARE REALLY GOOD - That kind of goes without saying, considering that they are winning seven out of every ten games, and they can beat you so many different ways. Pretty much anyone in the lineup can go deep, the defense is better than it's been the past couple of years, and the bullpen is among the best in the game. They've also been able to avoid injuries to any of the key players with the possible exception of Aroldis Chapman who went on the injured list and didn't pitch from May 22 until July 2.
THE YANKEES HAVE SOME HOLES - And the Red Sox exploited a couple of them. Gerrit Cole turns into a $31 million-a-year fraud when the brightest lights are turned on. Sure, the 8-2 record with the 3.26 ERA and 124 strikeouts look gaudy, but his true colors come out whenever Billy Crystal throws out the ceremonial first pitch, and the Red Sox and Astros come calling. And Rafael Devers absolutely owns him. And after a ridiculously good start to the season, Nestor Cortez hasn't pitched past the 6th inning since the beginning of June and was in the dugout before the 4th inning ended Friday night.
THE RED SOX PITCHING IS ABOUT TO GET BETTER - The WooSox Weekend is over. Chris Sale is back Tuesday against the Rays. Nathan Eovaldi could be back when the Sox hit the Bronx before the All-Star Break. Garrett Whitlock could be right there with him, and Rich Hill won't be far behind.
THE RED SOX HAVE SOME FIGHT IN THEM - Admit it, you were thinking "Yankee sweep" when New York came into town. Christian Arroyo's misplay of a routine fly ball after losing it in the Fenway twilight, and Franchy Cordero's inability to catch an infield pop up were played up on social media (especially by Yankees fans) as the second coming of the Bad News Bears. Scoring three in the bottom of the tenth on Saturday night (admit it...you probably turned the game off when New York scored two in the top of the inning), and then rallying for nine unanswered runs on Sunday night with the bullpen putting up zeros for 5.1 innings helped bring back some of those good feelings from June.
This week kicks off with four games at the Trop against the Rays (rookie Brayan Bello makes his second career start) and three in the Bronx against the Yankees heading into the All-Star Break.
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