This was the game the Red Sox told us was coming. It was the night Boston needed.
Through all the crowd-less games, trips to the edge of the 2021 cliff and visions of other sports communities passing us by, along came Fenway Park on a Tuesday night that made New England fans remember why these October nights meant so much. The 2021 Red Sox weren’t ready to jump into the rearview mirror quite yet, as was evidenced by a 6-2 Wild Card win over the Yankees that resuscitated a sports community.
Xander Bogaerts and Nathan Eovaldi provided the sparks that set the sell-out crowd ablaze. Bogaerts did it via his first-inning, two-run homer, while Eovaldi offered the kind of ace-like qualities his Yankees counterpart, Gerrit Cole, couldn’t muster. A Kyle Schwarber homer. A perfect relay by Kiké Hernandez. And Alex Verdugo’s RBI double. They all kept the flame - and season - going.
But it was the entire package wrapped up in the season-saving win that stood out.
The Red Sox could very well go on to come up short in the American League Division Series against the Rays. Losing your final game of any season is always a disappointment. But in this case, one game will stand on its own. That is the reality of what transpired on Oct. 5, 2021.
When it comes to how the night will truly be remembered, take your pick …
- Revenge for 1978.
- Bogaerts pulling a Cedric Maxwell “get on my back boys” kind of performance.
- Eovaldi showing that gut and guile put on display three years ago was absolutely no fluke.
- Alex Cora once again bobbing and weaving his way through the Yankees lineup after Eovaldi’s 5 1/3 innings, using Ryan Brasier, Tanner Houck, Hansel Robles and Garret Whitlock.
- Perhaps it was the reminder that what the Red Sox got back for Mookie Betts wasn’t all that bad.
- Or maybe it was just the image of Boston getting a chance to beat its chest again.
There were some things coming into this game that had been impossible to ignore. The Yankees’ six-game win streak against the Red Sox, which had included a punch-in-the-gut three-game sweep just nine days before. And, of course, having to resign ourselves to another Moral Victory Monday, made quite a bit more uneasy thanks to Tom Brady’s presence.
All of that was washed away thanks to the firehose that has become this Red Sox team that keeps telling us the naysayers should know better.
For at least one night, Boston was back on top. For that we can thanks this year’s craziest crowd and a Red Sox team that told us so.