Boston, MA - The American League Divisional Series is officially underway! After the two Wild Card games were played, the MLB post-season picture was set. The Los Angeles Dodgers would play the Atlanta Braves, the Milwaukee Brewers will take on the Colorado Rockies, the Houston Astros face off against the Cleveland Indians, and for the first time since the Boston Red Sox came back from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS in 2004 to win, they are meeting the New York Yankees in the playoffs.
It is also the first time the arch rivals have ever played in the ALDS together.
Boston announced their rotation for the series as, in order, Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, and Nathan Eovaldi, with big time pitchers like Eduardo Rodriguez coming out of the bullpen. The official ALDS roster also included the usual suspects with the interesting wrinkles of three catchers and Joe Kelly.
The first game in the series got off to a rollicking start as Sale struck out the side in the top of the first inning and then, after Andrew Benintendi singled and Steve Pearce walked, J.D. Martinez socked a three-run home run over the Green Monster. Fenway Park certainly exploded after that big time homer.
Pearce and Xander Bogaerts would later add RBIs of their own as Sale managed to roll his way through the Yankees lineup, racking up eight strikeouts before being removed in the sixth inning.
And then things got interesting. The Yankees frequently mounted comeback opportunities against the Red Sox bullpen, even having the bases loaded with no outs at one point for Giancarlo Stanton.
They managed to get out of that situation with only one run given up, but the bullpen inspired no confidence in fans. Alex Cora made pitching change after pitching change before eventually turning to Porcello in the eighth, almost out of desperation.
Craig Kimbrel came in for a four out save and he escaped the eighth inning before giving up a solo home run to Aaron Judge. He settled in eventually and struck out the side to give Boston the win, 5-4, but it was certainly nerve wracking.
There’s no time to dwell, though. Game Two of the series is tonight at Fenway!