The Red Sox and Alex Cora may be asking themselves the same question in the near future. In Tuesday, they beat the Twins 11-9, but Cora had to yank his closer, Matt Barnes, after Barnes came on with a three-run lead and gave up a home run to Josh Donaldson and two walks.
The New York Yankees’ winning streak extends just in time to give them a chance to make the playoffs
Hansel Robles had to clean it up after allowing 20 baserunners in his first 82/3 innings with the Red Sox after being acquired in a trade deadline deal. He got two strikeouts and then Jake Cave to line out to second base. After a strong first half, Barnes was named to the All-Star team, but he has struggled in August, allowing 10 runs and three home runs in 413 innings. He had also thrown on Monday and had to be pulled after allowing four of the five hitters he faced to hit him and blowing the save (although the Red Sox won the game in the 10th inning). Barnes has always been shaky in consecutive games throughout his career, so that’s a concern, just as Chapman’s. Robles had ten saves with the Twins prior to the trade, and he threw 99 mph on Tuesday, but he’s far from a consistent, shut-down option.
For the time being, Cora has focused on the positive — a victory. After the game, Cora noted, “We have 72 of those, and not many teams can say that.” “There are 27 outs. It’s easy at times and difficult at others. We appear to have used about the entire roster during the last two days, which isn’t ideal, but it’s adequate. Wins like this can help you develop your character.” So, for the time being, everything is fine, even if the tension level is rising as we approach October. This holds true for all playoff teams and fans. I got a message from a friend who was watching the finish of the Yankees game and was a Mariners supporter (rooting for a loss, of course).
He texted, “This is more tense than an M’s game.” It’s worth remembering that Seattle swept the A’s in two games, putting them just one game behind Oakland and three games behind Boston. Despite a minus-56 run differential, the M’s are still in this game. Drew Steckenrider, who threw the final seven outs of a 5-1 victory on Tuesday while throwing only 23 pitches, was given a pass by Scott Servais. So, despite the struggles of All-Stars Chapman and Barnes, the Mariners have remained in the wild-card chase because to Steckenrider and Paul Sewald, two free agents signed after their previous organizations released them. They have a 2.18 ERA between them. Toss off the résumé at this time of year. You want a hot hand, and both the Yankees and the Red Sox are looking for one.
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