Red Sox

Drellich: Commend Eduardo Nunez for how he stood up to CC Sabathia

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Drellich: Commend Eduardo Nunez for how he stood up to CC Sabathia

NEW YORK — In a year where the Red Sox have had a few public kerfuffles, Eduardo Nunez handled the latest with as much backbone and aplomb as anyone. 

Not bad for a guy who’s been on the team for a month.

Nunez attempted to bunt in the first inning against Sabathia on Thursday night, when the Sox dropped the opener of a four-game series against the Yankees, 6-2. 

CC Sabathia, who has a bum knee, didn’t take kindly to dropping one down and ripped the Sox in his postgame comments at Yankee Stadium.

“I'm an old man,” Sabathia told reporters, including MLB.com's Bryan Hoch. “They should want to go out and kick my butt. I just feel like they took the weak road."

Baseball purists who dislike the game’s hazy codes can spend all the time they want on this subject. But for the Red Sox, Sabathia’s comments are not about unwritten rules.

A pitcher who has dominated the Sox this year suggested his prey is weak. Sabathia, whether intending to or not, engaged on a psychological level, and publicly. He's also 4-0 with a 1.04 ERA against the Sox this season.

But Nunez held his ground.

“If I have to do it twice, I have to do it,” Nunez said. “And if I have to bunt four times in a row, I’ll do it. I don’t care if he’s mad.”

Nunez said he did apologize to Sabathia, but that wasn’t exactly an admission of guilt. The apology seemed more of a clarification: he’s not trying to get Sabathia hurt. He’s trying to win a baseball game.

“I cannot change my game,” Nunez said. “We know he has a bad knee. That’s not my problem.”

He's right.

The best volley the Sox have now would be to hold first place. But there’s something to be said for not letting other people push you around in the public arena. 

David Price seems to have some appreciation for that general concept, making it his task to be a media enforcer this year — even if his approach has been misguided.

But between Price and the Baltimore beanballs, the Sox haven't come away looking great in these moments this year. Dustin Pedroia said he loved Manny Machado. It didn’t take long for Machado to curse out every member of the Red Sox and say he has no respect for the team.

Sabathia, once told of Nunez’s respond on Thursday night, doubled down. 

“I’m out there early every day,” Sabathia said, via Newsday’s Erik Boland. “If they have something to say, we can meet in center field.”

Nunez already had something to say. There isn’t much more he should need to say. The Yankees already got into a huge fight with the Tigers recently. No one needs that. 

What the Red Sox needed was a firm, reasonable message. For once, in a public exchange of words, they got that.

Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

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Astros beat Yankees in Game 7 to advance to World Series, 4-0

HOUSTON - Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers combined on a three-hitter, Jose Altuve and Evan Gattis homered and the Houston Astros reached the World Series, blanking the New York Yankees 4-0 Saturday night in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

Just four years removed from their third straight 100-loss season in 2013, the Astros shut down the Yankees for two straight games after dropping three in a row in the Bronx.

Next up for the Astros: Game 1 of the World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday night. Houston aces Dallas Keuchel and ALCS MVP Justin Verlander will have plenty of rest, too, before the matchup begins at Dodger Stadium.

Houston has never won even a single World Series game. The only previous time the Astros made it this far, they were a National League team when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005.

Now, manager A.J. Hinch's club has a chance to win that elusive first title, while trying to boost a region still recovering from Hurricane Harvey.

Houston improved to 6-0 at Minute Maid Park in these playoffs and became the fifth team in major league history to win a seven-game postseason series by winning all four of its home games.

Morton bounced back from a loss in Game 3 to allow two hits over five scoreless innings. Starter-turned-postseason reliever McCullers limited the Yankees to just one hit while fanning six over the next four.

Combined, they throttled the Yankees one last time in Houston. Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and their New York teammates totaled just three runs in the four road games.

CC Sabathia entered the game 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 13 starts this season after a Yankees loss. But he struggled with command and was gone with one out in the fourth inning.

Houston was up 2-0 in fifth when former Yankees star Brian McCann came through for the second straight game by hitting a two-run double after snapping an 0-for-20 skid with an ground-rule RBI double to give Houston its first run on Friday night.

The Yankees, trying to reach the World Series for the first time since 2009, lost an elimination game for the first time this season after winning their first four in these playoffs. New York struggled on the road this postseason, with this loss dropping the team to 1-6.

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

Red Sox reportedly make offer to Cora

UPDATE: The deal is for three years, per Ken Rosenthal.

BOSTON — We’re just waiting on an announcement now.

A pair of national reports on Saturday afternoon, one from FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal... 

...And another from MLB Network and FanRagSports.com's Jon Heyman...

have firmed up Alex Cora’s expected hiring as Red Sox manager. Both reported that Cora, the Astros bench coach, is expected to take the job once Houston's season ends, which could come as soon as Saturday night after Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. 

Heyman reported a contract offer has already been made to Cora. 

A baseball source said this week that there was “not a doubt” Cora, the Astros bench coach, would wind up with the Red Sox gig. It’s unclear when exactly the offer was made to him, but one had not been made as of midday Wednesday, the source said. 

Cora, 41, a former Red Sox infielder (2005-08) who's also worked in the media and is the most sought-after managerial candidate at the moment, appeared the front-runner since the outset of what proved a small search for the Red Sox.

Earlier, Boston Globe reported that the Washington Nationals were interested in Cora after they fired Dusty Baker on Friday.