On Sunday the Red Sox completed what seemed an improbable series victory, taking two of the three games from the visiting New York Yankees.
Before a national audience, the Red Sox got an outstanding performance from starter Michael Wacha. Just back from the Injured List, Wacha sparkled with 7.0 shutout innings, retiring each of the first 14 Yankees he faced on just 47 pitches. It was Wacha’s third scoreless start of the season and his ninth career scoreless start of 7.0+ IP.
In a season where it’s easy to point fingers at the Red Sox front office for what some might call neglect, credit the Jersey Street collective with finding untapped potential in Wacha.
More history for Rafael Devers
Sunday’s game featured another big-stage, standout performance for Rafael Devers, who was 2-for-4 with a home run that drove in two, thanks to a lead off base hit for Tommy Pham.
Devers’ home run was his 320th career extra-base hit, tying him with Mookie Betts for the most ever by a Boston batter aged 25 or younger (Devers turned 26 on October 24). Devers’ XBH tally includes:
- 176 doubles, tied with Xander Bogaerts‘ record for fourth-most by such players.
- 137 home runs, which is second only to Tony Conigliaro‘s 160 long balls from 1964-70.
In franchise history, the Red Sox have had 23 players with 1750 or more at-bats before turning 26 years old. Among those:
- Devers ranks 4th-best for slugging percentage (.520) after Hall of Famer Ted Williams (.642), Nomar Garciaparra (.566), and Hall of Famer Jim Rice (.541).
- Devers is ranked 6th for OPS (.861) after Williams (1.123), Garciaparra (.933), Hall of Famer Tris Speaker (.903), Rice (.894), and Mookie Betts (.888).
- Devers is 7th for OPS+ (125) after Williams (190), Speaker (166), Rice (138), Garciaparra (135), Betts (134) and Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski (127).
- Devers is also 7th for WPA (8.9) after Williams (25.8), Betts (14.9), Rice (13.0), Yastrzemski (11.3) Conigliaro (11.2) and Reggie Smith (10.6).
Playing to potential
The Red Sox played to the level of their opponent this weekend, not only winning the series, but limiting arguably the best offense in baseball to just five runs over the three games.
Sunday’s was the first Red Sox shutout win versus the Yanks since July 16, 2021 and the first such game at Fenway Park since July 16, 2017. It was the first game in which Boston pitchers limited New York to two or fewer hits since August 3, 2018, when Rick Porcello threw a one-hit complete game against the “bombers” at Fenway Park.
Timing is everything
The Red Sox caught the Yankees at a good time. Since August 1, New York has gone 3-9.
For Boston, Sunday’s win meant, remarkably, their first three-game series victory vs an American League East rival this season. Perhaps just as remarkable, it was the first series lost to an AL East team by New York since the first month of the season.