Boston sports fans needed 2 TVs on Thursday night as the Red Sox battled the Yankees in the series rubber match and the Bruins kicked off their 2018 playoff hockey against a tough Toronto squad. Most fans likely flipped back and forth and if they were lucky didn’t miss a run or goal and both teams dominated. The Sox have now won three in a row after more dominance today and the Bruins are on tonight so no flipping is needed.
The Red Sox topped the Yankees 6-3, winning their first series of 2018 against New York. The Sox looked very good throughout the series. Although both teams are suffering numerous injuries, I think this is a good sign that the Red Sox may be ready to contend for a World Series title. Some people believed the opposite before this series, as the Red Sox had faced only rebuilding teams before their series against the Yanks. If they can do well against the 12-3 Los Angeles Angels and start next week’s west coast road trip off right, that will continue to solidify the Red Sox position as a true contender to win the AL East again and maybe go further.
While the Bruins limped into the playoffs losing 4 of their last 5 to miss a chance to lock down the #1 seed, they returned to midseason form Thursday and dominated in Game 1. They blew out Toronto 5-1. The Bruins refused to let injuries hold them back, and the depth of their roster helped them. If the Bruins can bring the same intensity for the rest of the series, the Maple Leafs may struggle to win a game, let alone the series. The top line of Marchand, Bergeron, and Pastrnak played extremely well and their play really shined on the power play as the Bruins were 3 for 6, scoring one PP goal in each period.
Please read on for a few more details on the big night for the Sox and B’s.
Porcello Dominant, Red Sox Cruise to Victory
The Red Sox came out aggressive fearing a rain-shortened game and put up 6 runs over the first 3 innings on their way to victory over the Yankees, 6-3. Rick Porcello was dominant on the mound and had a no-hitter through six and finished with seven scoreless innings, giving up just two hits. Porcello stayed warm waiting out a rain delay after five innings but Rick came back into the game showing no ill effects from the delay. His no-hitter came to an end in the 7th inning when Yankees star hitter Aaron Judge doubled to break it up.
The Red Sox grabbed hold of a lead early in the game. Hanley Ramirez, who has been on fire of late, left the game in the 1st after being hit in the hand by Sonny Gray but that did not stop the Red Sox. Eduardo Nunez led off in the next inning with a base hit. The cold was giving him knee discomfort as he raced down the first base line but he decided to keep on playing. JBJ walked to make it 1st and 2nd, and Sandy Leon drove in the run with a single. Brock Holt got on base with another walk to load the bases, and all three runners advanced one base when Mookie Betts hit a deep sac fly, making it 2-0 Red Sox with men on 2nd and 3rd. Andrew Benintendi then grounded to second base with the infield in. The Yankees chose to throw home but the throw bounced in by Sanchez and allowed Leon to score. Holt advanced to 3rd and Benny had time to advance to 2nd. Mitch Moreland, in off the bench for Hanley, drove in the fourth run with a single despite limited playing time this year.
The Sox scored again the 3rd. Eduardo Nunez doubled to right, and JBJ hit a ground rule double to knock him in. Sandy Leon struck out on a pitch in the dirt that got away. Another bad defensive choice by the Yankees allowed Leon to reach as Gary Sanchez fired to 3rd but JBJ slid in safely. Mookie Betts knocked him in with a ground ball to the right side, 6-0 Boston. Betts ended up going 0 for 4 but he had 2 RBI on the night.
The Yankees did not score until the top of the 9th when reliever Marcus Walden gave up a bases-clearing double to Gary Sanchez with the bases loaded. Craig Kimbrel came in to finish the job, and the Red Sox won 6-3.
Injury Update: Hanley Ramirez did suffer a wrist contusion but avoided a more serious injury. He was out of the lineup Friday against Baltimore but returned today with a Home Run.
What’s Next: The Red Sox have taken the first 2 games against the Orioles in a 4-game Fenway series as Eduardo Rodriguez dominated again against his former team as he has struck out more batters against the Orioles than any other opponent in his career. The Sox won easily 7-3. Velazquez gave up just 2 runs in 5 strong innings as the Sox cruised to a 10-3 victory and weather permitting hope Sale can keep the strong pitching streak for Sox starters going.
Bruins Dominate vs. Leafs, Led By Power Play success
The Bruins dominated in Game 1 of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They topped a strong Toronto Maple Leafs squad, 5-1, with David Backes scoring one goal and being robbed of a second. Rick Nash also made an impact returning after a long absence. The Bruins dominated in their power plays, scoring a power-play goal in every period. One PP goal was during a 5-minute major power play due to a gruesome hit Nazem Kadri put on Tommy Wingels, knocking him out of the game. Kadri is suspended for the next 3 games of the series, and if the Bruins continue to dominate, he may not play another game this season.
Zach Hyman scored the only goal for Toronto when the Leafs tied it up in the 1st period. After that, the Leafs fell out of it due to 4 unanswered Bruins goals.
Injury Update: Wingels is out for Game 2 after being hit by Kadri. Riley Nash is doubtful with an ear laceration. Donato is playing for Wingels.
What’s Next: The Bruins take on the Leafs at the TD Garden again tonight. It is being aired on prime time on NBC. The Bruins have jumped out to a 5-2 lead early in the 2nd period, going 2 for 2 on the power play and scoring another 4 unanswered goals to begin the game.
Stay tuned for more Red Sox and Bruins coverage soon, including my latest Red Sox Report.