BOSTON -- Craig Kimbrel had one of his greater outings of the season - maybe his career - striking out four batters in his four-out save, putting a punctuation mark on the Red Sox 6-5 comeback victory.
It wasn’t Kimbrel’s first appearance against the Bronx Bombers with the rivalry at its height, but it may have been his most notable due to a multitude of variables. He was fully aware of what was on the line, too -- not just the postseason but a win against the team’s greatest rival.
“It separates families and things like that up here,” Kimbrel told CSN.
Having played in two smaller markets prior to Boston, Kimbrel made claim that he’d dealt with a rivalry back in Atlanta with Washington. But he admitted that the rivalry he’s dealing with now carries a different weight.
“Well [Red Sox-Yankees] goes a lot deeper, a lot further back,” Kimbrel stated. “[Atlanta-Washington was] not as intense as the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.”
Kimbrel’s a big fan of the atmosphere it creates, too. In fact, he’s itching to deal with the fans and Yankee Stadium when Boston travels there next week, given he’s only thrown there once in his career -- but never as a member of the Red Sox.
“It’s awesome, it’s great,” Kimbrel said on playing a part in the rivalry. “Great to play games in those environments. It gives it that much more -- you can feel the fans giving it to each other in the stands. There’s always something.”
Kimbrel’s been a little spoiled by the rivalry, having thrown well (1 ER in 4.2 IP vs. New York) and the Red Sox already winning the season series. Given he’s embraced the atmosphere brings to light that he looks forward to the high-pressure situations -- meaning he won’t be fazed by the postseason.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar