Fun facts about the AL wild-card game

The Yankees and Red Sox have plenty of shared history. Here’s a look at some of the current connections between the teams:

Garrett Whitlock

Looking more and more like the one who got away throughout this season, the Red Sox rookie reliever was drafted by the Yankees in 2017. He got to Double-A Trenton as a starter in 2019 before needing Tommy John surgery that year. The Yankees then chose not to put him on their 40-man roster last offseason, leaving him unprotected for the Red Sox to scoop him up in the Rule 5 draft. Boston put him in the bullpen, where he has become one of its most valuable pieces, posting a 1.96 ERA and 81 strikeouts across 73 ¹/₃ innings.

Adam Ottavino

The rare salary dump by the Yankees has become another important part of the Red Sox bullpen. Last offseason, the Yankees sent Ottavino and a minor league pitcher to the Red Sox for a player to be named later or cash. Boston picked up most of the $9 million left on Ottavino’s contract and inserted him into a high-leverage role. Ottavino (4.21 ERA) has had some of the struggles he did in his last season as a Yankee, but he’s also recorded 11 saves to help get the Red Sox to Tuesday.

Anthony Rizzo

Before he was rumored to be a top trade target of the Red Sox at July’s deadline — and ultimately landed in The Bronx — Rizzo was a sixth-round draft pick of the Red Sox out of high school in 2007. He spent four years in their system, getting to Double-A before he was traded to the Padres in the Adrian Gonzalez deal in December 2010. Rizzo was still in the Red Sox organization when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008.

Anthony Rizzo
Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post

Nathan Eovaldi

Tuesday’s starting pitcher for the Red Sox pitched two seasons for the Yankees from 2015-2016 before he tore his UCL and underwent Tommy John surgery. He came back in 2018 with the Rays before being traded to the Red Sox and has mostly served as a thorn in the side of his old team. Even after the Yankees rocked him for seven runs in 2 ²/₃ innings on Sept. 24, Eovaldi has posted a 3.36 ERA in 64 ¹/₃ innings against for the Red Sox.

Tim Naehring

The Yankees’ vice president of baseball operations, a trusted adviser to GM Brian Cashman, spent all eight years of his big-league playing career with the Red Sox. The infielder hit .282 with a .785 OPS in 547 games for the Red Sox from 1990-1997.

The Red Sox edged the Yankees 10-9 in the regular-season series, but the swings were drastic. The Sox won the first seven games before the Yankees won nine of the last 12, including a sweep at Fenway Park Sept 24-26. Here are the highlights of the regular-season matchups:

  • The Red Sox had held Giancarlo Stanton in check through their first 16 games against him (10-for-52, one home run, four RBIs, 22 strikeouts) before he absolutely destroyed them in the final series. Powering the Yankees to the sweep, Stanton went 7-for-12 with three home runs, a double and 10 RBIs, including a game-winning grand slam over the Green Monster in the middle game of the series.
  • While the Yankees quieted J.D. Martinez (slashing .186/.258/.356 in 17 games), the same could not be said about Hunter Renfroe. The Red Sox outfielder slashed .316/.397/.421 in 19 games against the Yankees, though only one of his 31 home runs on the season came against them — a solo shot off Aroldis Chapman. He also went 3-for-9 against Gerrit Cole.
  • Aaron Judge hit .250 (10-for-40) with an .850 OPS against the Red Sox, but he was especially good against Tuesday’s starter, Nathan Eovaldi. He went 6-for-10 with a double, home run and one strikeout against the former Yankees right-hander.
Joey Gallo reaches the top of his swing on a three-run go-ahead home run against the Mariners.
Joey Gallo hits a three-run go-ahead home run against the Mariners.
for the NY POST
  • Joey Gallo was only a Yankee for the last two series against the Red Sox, but they certainly had his number. Red Sox pitchers held Gallo to just 1-for-20 (a single) at the plate, striking him out nine times and walking him three times.
  • Gleyber Torres, who hit well against the Red Sox this season (.293 with an .873 OPS and four home runs), also wasn’t afraid to run against them. Of his 14 stolen bases on the year, five came in 16 games against the Red Sox, with Christian Vazquez throwing him out only once, plus a pickoff.
  • Plenty familiar with the scouting report on Adam Ottavino, the Yankees beat up on their former teammate this season. The Red Sox reliever gave up seven earned runs in 6 ²/₃ innings against the Yankees. Stanton went 3-for-6 against him with a homer and double while Torres was 2-for-4. The Red Sox returned the favor against Chad Green. Four of his six appearances against the Sox this year were scoreless, but in the other two they tagged him for six runs.

5 things to know about the Red Sox

  1. Boston’s best second baseman in the month of September is not eligible to play Tuesday — or the rest of the postseason should they advance. Jose Iglesias signed with the Red Sox in the midst of their late-season COVID-19 woes and went on to hit .356 with a .915 OPS in 23 games. But because he didn’t sign until Sept. 6 — less than a week after the Aug. 31 deadline to be on a team’s 40-man roster — the Red Sox cannot use him in the playoffs. They could move Kiké Hernandez from center field to second base, or turn to Christian Arroyo to fill the void.
  2. Twice this season, manager Alex Cora has pulled a pitcher who was working on a no-hitter or a perfect game. Nick Pivetta was 6 ²/₃ innings into a no-hitter against the Rays on June 24 when Cora lifted him at 100 pitches. The Red Sox eventually lost 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth. Then rookie southpaw Tanner Houck had a perfect game through five innings and 53 pitches Saturday against the Nationals when Cora went to the bullpen. The risky move didn’t backfire in a game the Red Sox needed to win. Both Pivetta and Houck could be options out of the bullpen Tuesday.
  3. Don’t expect them to be the Yellow Sox on Tuesday. MLB would allow them to wear their alternate yellow City Connect jerseys, WEEI reported, but the luck seemed to run out of them the last time the Sox faced the Yankees. Before that series, the Red Sox had won seven straight — including the last five while wearing the yellow jerseys that are a tribute to the Boston Marathon. Then they wore them against the Yankees for a sixth straight game on Sept. 24 and lost 8-3. The jerseys have not been seen since.
  4. Ryan Brasier has been one of the few trustworthy Red Sox relievers down the stretch — but he took a circuitous route to get there. The right-hander missed the start of the season with a calf injury, then was working his way back when he got drilled in the head with a line drive during a simulated game in June. He suffered a concussion and was hospitalized, but eventually made his season debut on Sept. 3. He struggled and was optioned to Triple-A two weeks later, but then came back on Sept. 21 when Garrett Whitlock was injured. Since then, he has not given up a run over 7 ²/₃ innings.
  5. After Alex Verdugo gets a hit, you can find him on base making a motion like he’s rocking a baby. The celebration is two-fold — he is a new father, but there’s also a Derek Jeter tie-in. Verdugo said it doubles as a reminder to stay inside the baseball — like holding a baby close to his body — “and kind of doing what Derek Jeter did,” he told MassLive.


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