Red Sox

Dominant Addison Reed 'didn't change a thing' after bad outing vs. Yankees

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Dominant Addison Reed 'didn't change a thing' after bad outing vs. Yankees

NEW YORK — The last time Addison Reed pitched at Yankee Stadium, his manager tried to remove him in the middle of an at-bat. That was Aug. 13, two days after he allowed four runs to the Yankees in a messy series for a reliever breaking in with a new team.

The righty has been lights out since then, with nine innings pitched, three hits, one walk and just one earned run allowed. The 11-to-1 strikeout ratio in that time is exactly the level of effectiveness the Red Sox expected.

Reed’s latest outing made it look easy once again: he retired the side in order in the eighth inning Friday night at Yankee Stadium in a 4-1 Sox win. He faced the Nos. 9-1-2 hitters, including pinch-hitter Aaron Hicks (line out to center), Brett Gardner (ground out to first) and Aaron Judge (fly out to center).

What’s changed?

As Reed said repeatedly after Friday, nothing. He’s adamant about that. It’s not a matter of feeling more comfortable, none of that. The game where Farrell tried to remove him mid at-bat didn’t spark a fire under him, he said.

Steady, steady, steady.

Reed pitched for the Mets, so he’s used to an intense media market. But he definitely doesn’t sound like someone who appreciated being judged based on his fifth appearance with his new team. His 4.05 ERA in 13 1/3 innings with the Sox overall is still skewed by that one bad game. But, he has 15 strikeouts compared to just three walks in that time.

“Doing the exact same thing,” Reed said. “I mean, it blows my mind why people are making such a big deal out of one outing. I mean, I guess it’s a story for you guys to write. So if you guys want to keep on running with that. I mean, I had an outing where I gave up four runs. That’s gonna happen.”

The trouble is, first impressions after the trade deadline mean a lot, and the four-run blow-up came in a Sox-Yankees game.

“Didn’t change a thing,” Reed reiterated. “Four guys scored without me getting an out. That was about all that happened.”

Red Sox offense quiet again in 4-1 loss to Twins

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Red Sox offense quiet again in 4-1 loss to Twins

MINNEAPOLIS - Robbie Grossman and Max Kepler homered to back an effective start by Lance Lynn as the Minnesota Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 4-1 on Wednesday night.

Grossman led off the bottom of the first with a solo home run and Kepler added a two-run shot off Boston starter David Price (8-5). Brian Dozier added a pair of doubles to help Minnesota win for the fourth time in five games.

Lynn (5-5) again struggled with command, issuing five walks, but he surrendered just one unearned run and three hits in five innings.

Four relievers combined for four scoreless innings with Fernando Rodney securing his 16th save in 19 chances.

Price allowed the three runs on seven hits and a walk. He had given up just one home run in his previous five starts and seven total in 14 starts this season coming into Wednesday.

The Red Sox were 0 for 9 with runners in scoring position and are 2 for 22 in the first two games of the series. They've stranded 18 baserunners in the two games and lost for the fourth time in five games.

Lynn has had an uncharacteristic wild season in his first year with the Twins. He walked at least five batters for the fifth time in 14 starts. But the veteran right-hander has limited the damage and allowed less than three runs in five of his last six starts.

Boston's lone run scored in the second as Lynn couldn't catch first baseman Logan Morrison's high throw to first for the final out of the inning, allowing Mitch Moreland to score from second base.

Drellich: Every move Red Sox, Yankees make has new meaning

Drellich: Every move Red Sox, Yankees make has new meaning

The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has a newfound sense of urgency. A feeling that every move counts and will count, be it at the trade deadline in a month and a half, or when Alex Cora determines his second baseman on a nightly basis.

It's not because these franchises hate each other, because of their steep history. It's because they actually have to best the other, or suffer an unwelcome consequence.

Unlike the early 2000s, both teams cannot enter the playoffs on equal footing. A second-place finish in the American League East will sting. Participating in the Wild Card game for the right to move on to the five-game Division Series will be a stomach-turning experience for one of these two teams.

The upshot presently: even as the Sox and Yanks play teams that are uninspiring, and there are plenty such clubs, there is reason for fans and players alike to stay intently focused. (In the midst of a 162-game season, there will be lapses for everyone.) There is reason to care, in fact, if the ideal lineup or pinch-hit decision is made by Alex Cora, at every juncture. There is reason to care about whether Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski has sufficiently helped rebuild the farm system, because it’s a matter of depth options now and via trade.

The Sox can have the best record in the majors in June, or be one win off the pace-setters, and the smallest of details will still matter. “They’re great,” doesn’t cut it. “Is this move optimal to beat the Yankees, the team that can relegate the Sox to a one-game playoff scenario?” is the question to be answered

As trade season arrives, the concept of the marginal win is out the window for both clubs. Or it should be. In divisions where one team is clearly superior, the need to add by trade isn’t always so clear. What’s the difference between 93 wins and 95 wins if you’re heading to the Division Series either way? Is the slight upgrade worth whatever you’re giving up?

The playoffs are always a crapshoot. But the Sox and Yanks are playing to avoid the biggest crapshoot of all in the Wild Card.

Passion between fan bases in the regular season wasn’t lacking 15 years ago. It was greater, obviously. But for different reasons. Second place in the division was usually a matter of bragging rights, rather than actual reward or worthiness. 

We’ve returned to a world where the Sox and Yanks are clearly better than virtually everyone. Were the rest of the AL stronger this year, the Wild Card could be a blessing for the Sox or the Yanks — a chance to make a postseason run that did not previously exist when there were four playoff teams instead of five. 

But the present landscape shows three powerhouses, and two of them happen to be classic rivals in the East. What they do before October means more now than it used to.

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