The nobody-believed-in-us-but-us mentality the Red Sox have used from Day 1 has served the team well. It's why they certainly going to stop the narrative after advancing to the American League Division Series against the Rays thanks to their 6-2 Wild Card win over the Yankees.
For instance, 10 words into Alex Cora's postgame press conference, the manager dropped, "I know a lot of people doubted us ..."
So, when word trickled out Sunday that the Yankees had told Major League Baseball that they were choosing to play the Red Sox in Boston instead of the Blue Jays in Toronto in the event of a four-way tie, there was bound to be some murmurs.
Leading into Tuesday night's showdown, however, the Sox certainly insinuated the Yankees' decision wouldn't be used as motivation. And, to be sure, the topic certainly wasn't a driving force when formulating a plan to get past New York.
But that doesn't mean the team that has used every little slight as part of their arsenal was going to let this Yankees item slip by. That was clear thanks to Kiké Hernandez's analysis of the situation after his team's Wild Card win.
"We weren’t worried about the Yankees, to be honest with you," Hernandez told WEEI.com on the Fenway Park field. "We were aware that the Yankees chose us in case there was a four-way tie, but given our situation we didn’t even have time to talk about the Yankees because we needed to focus on ourselves and we needed to focus on Washington and we needed to win all three games, otherwise we could have been out of it. We never really sat down and talked about the fact that the Yankees want us at Fenway or anything like that. But they wanted us, they got us and they didn’t get it done. We got it done. Just like they say, be careful what you wish for."
Regardless of the impact the Yankees' decision might have had, the results were the results. In 20 meetings between the teams, the Red Sox won 11, including the one that truly counted the most -- Tuesday night.
Hernandez proved to be a big part of the win for the Red Sox, starting what ultimately turned into the play of the game. That came in the fifth inning when he gathered in Giancarlo Stanton's blast off the left-field wall, threw it to Xander Bogaerts, who fired a strike to catcher Kevin Plawecki to nail Aaron Judge at the plate.
"There really wasn’t any chatter among ourselves," Plawecki said. "We just had to play our game and win in Washington. And today we took care of business."