Red Sox teetering atop AL East amid diminished confidence, increased frustration

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NBC Sports Boston 19 July, 2021 - 07:45am 4 views

Who was the fan that hit Verdugo?

Aaron Boone didn't equivocate late Saturday. "Hopefully he's in jail right now," Boone said. The "he" the Yankees' manager spoke of after his team's rain-shortened 3-1 victory over the Red Sox was a fan in the leftfield seats who, in the sixth inning, pegged Boston leftfielder Alex Verdugo in the back with a baseball. NewsdayFan who hit Verdugo banned for life from Yankee Stadium

What happened at Red Sox Yankees game?

The game between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on Saturday was delayed briefly after a fan threw a baseball at Boston outfielder Alex Verdugo in the sixth inning, hitting him in the back, which led Red Sox manager Alex Cora to pull his team from the field. The AthleticRed Sox-Yankees delayed after fan throws baseball at Alex Verdugo

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Amid the chaos between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees fans at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night, the wife of a former Red Sox catcher revealed she was involved in her own "vile" incident.

Catherine Varitek, the wife of longtime Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek, revealed on Twitter her own terrifying ordeal while she was trying to leave the ballpark.

"What our kids just went through walking to our car in Yankee stadium was scary. #RedSoxNation Let us set an example and stay classy. Baseball banter should be fun, not harmful and offensive," she wrote.

"I am not talking about ‘Curse Words,’" she added. "Someone SPIT on my 9 year old daughter for wearing her Varitek jersey. I can handle ‘Curse Words’ that s--t was straight out (sic) filth and vile."

The incident allegedly occurred after some Yankees fan threw a baseball at Red Sox outfielder Alex Verdugo.

After he was hit, Verdugo headed toward the stands and started arguing with New York fans and was quickly pulled away by teammates and some of the umpires, according to the Boston Globe. The game was briefly delayed as Red Sox manager Alex Cora took his players off the field.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone condemned the incident.

"That’s my understanding that someone threw the ball and hit him at point blank from behind. It’s awful, embarrassing, unacceptable. My understanding is that they did catch the guy. Hopefully, he’s in jail right now," Boone said.

"It’s just a bad situation and if I was Alex Cora I would’ve done the same thing as far as going out and getting his guys off the field and there’s zero place for that in this great game, in this great rivalry. Players should never feel they have to worry about anything like that. I already reached out to Alex Cora just to apologize and to Alex Verdugo. That’s just a terrible, bad, sad situation and sorry about that."

Verdugo said he tossed a ball to a Red Sox fan in the stands when a Yankees fan took it away and threw it back and hit the outfielder. According to the New York Post, fans chanted for the man to throw the ball back and he did. The fan was ejected.

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Tomase: Skidding Sox have gotten away from what made them great

NBC Sports Boston 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

On Sunday night, they dropped their third straight series with a 9-1 loss to the Yankees. They did so in familiar fashion, winning the opener and nothing more, just as they did against the Angels and Phillies.

A team that made a habit of finding a way in the first half has stumbled out of the gates in the second, puncturing its aura of resilience in the process.

"I think we need to continue to play hard like we are in first place," said catcher Christian Vazquez. "We need to act more like we're in first place. That's the key for us. We need to be more cocky, like we're in a good place. And we're not acting like that. That's what I see right now."

After worrying only about themselves for the first three-plus months, the Red Sox have been directing their ire outward in recent days while losing six of eight. First, Kiké Hernández bemoaned being one of only two teams forced to play on Thursday out of the All-Star break, drawing uneasy parallels to the disliked Adrian Gonzalez. When a COVID outbreak on the Yankees canceled that game, Hernández suggested it was karma.

On Saturday, outfielder Alex Verdugo rightfully blew his top when a fan drilled him in the back with a baseball thrown from the stands, but it's easy to wonder how much Verdugo's reaction related to the month-long slump that has dropped his OPS to league average. Manager Alex Cora admitted that he pulled his team off the field partly so the emotional Verdugo could calm down.

That same night, the Red Sox were outraged over the miserable conditions at Yankee Stadium while trying to play through deluges before their 3-1 loss was finally called after six innings. Their grievances may have been merited, but the Red Sox of May and June would've simply found a way to win.

And then in Sunday's finale, the bats once again remained silent and the bullpen imploded while Red Sox players continued lashing out. Normally mild-mannered third baseman Rafael Devers appeared headed to an ejection after being called out on an appealed check swing, though Cora led him safely away.

Then Vazquez motioned at a light shining from above the monuments in center field. Whether the Red Sox believed it was an attempt at sign stealing or a random fan aiming a laser pointer, they were distracted enough to halt the game.

Add it all together, and they're limping into their most brutal stretch of the season, a run of 17 straight games against the Rays, Jays, and Yankees. Their pitching has intermittently faltered, their offense has cratered, and they're starting to point fingers externally when they've been so good at keeping the focus on themselves all season.

"I think it's more of the offense than anything else," Cora said. "We had that big game against Kansas City (a 15-1 win) at the end of the homestand and then after that, obviously a good pitching staff in Oakland and Anaheim, we didn't do too much. Against the Phillies we didn't do too much, and this series, it was the same thing. There are some positives, but as a group, we need to get better."

There's little doubt the Red Sox have played over their heads. They own only the third-best run differential in the division, which is suggestive of a 51-win team, but they're 56-38. Perhaps the last couple of weeks represent a market correction.

Their lead over the Rays, which stood at 4.5 games not even two weeks ago, has shrunk to a half game. The Jays have been playing nearly .700 ball for the last month and shut out the Rangers in both halves of a doubleheader Sunday to pull within six games. The Yankee are seven games out, but they boast the resources to improve in July, and the Red Sox failed to knock them when they had the chance.

There's a reason no one wins any awards for leading the division in July. There's still more than two months to play, and the club's brilliant and surprising first half won't mean anything if there's no payoff in October.

How Yankees could replace injured Trey Amburgey — if necessary

NJ.com 19 July, 2021 - 03:01pm

NEW YORK — Trey Amburgey might be just fine.

The Yankees rookie right fielder tweaked his right hamstring when he stretched hard while trying to avoid a double play in Sunday night’s 9-1 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

But he was out, and he needed to leave the game with what the team called a cramp at the time.

“They’re kind of assessing if it’s a low-grade strain, whether it’s a cramp — I’m sure we’ll know a little more overnight and (Monday),” manager Aaron Boone said.

Boone added that he wasn’t sure if an injured list stint would be necessary for Amburgey, whom the Yankees only called up Thursday.

The Yankees’ outfield has been destroyed by injuries. Aaron Judge hit the COVID-19 injured list on Thursday. Outfielders Clint Frazier (vision), Miguel Andujar (wrist), Tim Locastro (knee) and Aaron Hicks (wrist) are all on the injured list.

If Amburgey goes to the IL, t’s possible the Yankees could turn to top center field prospect Estevan Florial, whom they passed over to bring up Greg Allen and Ryan LaMarre in recent days.

Florial hasn’t hit particularly well at Triple-A, posting a .211 average and a .718 OPS in 43 games. His strikeout issues have continued with 59 Ks in 171 at-bats.

“Flo hit a couple homers the other day, which was really good to see,” Boone said. “He’s doing well. I think the biggest thing for him is (staying) healthy and getting those regular reps. He’s had some ups and downs certainly down there but I think the biggest thing is that he’s been able to play regularly and hopefully in store for a big second half.”

Boone was asked why LaMarre was promoted over Florial.

“It’s also what gives us the best chance here in the short term, kind of weighing that as well, his development is important and I think the guys that have gotten called up to this point have been in line and kind of earned that spot,” the manager said.

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