Oh, it’s on.
A day earlier than he’s scheduled to face the Purple Sox within the AL wild-card sport, New York Yankees ace Gerrit Cole dropped the title that dare not be spoken inside the confines of Fenway Park — not less than not for the reason that final one-game playoff between the longtime rivals was determined by a light-hitting shortstop popping the go-ahead homer over the Inexperienced Monster.
“Bucky Dent, proper?” Cole mentioned when requested what he knew concerning the historical past between the groups. “You’re dreaming about placing your self in that place, and coming via to your group. And right here we’re.”
Forty-three years after Dent’s homer helped the Yankees beat Boston to interrupt a tie for the AL East title, the groups meet once more for one sport, with the winner this time advancing to face the Tampa Bay Rays in an AL Division Sequence.
Cole (16-8) faces Nathan Eovaldi (11-9) in Boston, the place Dent homered, the place ‘Tek shoved A-Rod, the place Roger returned, the place Pedro pushed Zimmer and the place Dave Roberts stole second to make everybody all-but neglect about every little thing that occurred up till then.
“There’s a buzz right here,” mentioned New York supervisor Aaron Boone, himself a Boston beater with an Eleventh-inning, walk-off residence run in Recreation 7 of the 2003 AL Championship Sequence at Yankee Stadium.
“It issues right here. It’s enjoyable to compete in video games right here. It’s powerful to compete in video games right here,” Boone mentioned. “Yeah, I feel there can be some stress, electrical energy. All the things you can hope for for a winner-take-all sport within the playoffs and two excellent franchises and groups.”
It is going to be the fifth time the groups have met within the playoffs — the 1978 tiebreaker counted as a part of the common season — with every membership profitable twice. In postseason video games, New York leads 12-11, however Boston has received seven of the final eight.
Twice collection have come right down to a win-or-go-home seventh sport, within the 2003 and ’04 ALCS. Every group has received certainly one of them.
Purple Sox supervisor Alex Cora, who arrived in Boston as a participant in 2005, proper after the latest heyday of the rivalry, mentioned again then it was fueled by gamers akin to David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada.
“It was extra concerning the characters, the gamers, bigger-than-life,” he mentioned. “It was like, ‘Wow, these guys are unbelievable.’
“They used to struggle, too, again within the day, so I feel that gave it a bit bit extra for the fan base,” Cora mentioned. “Now we have nice gamers … two groups are taking part in for a similar factor. All through the season, it has been a roller-coaster experience.”
With baseball returning to a full, 162-game schedule after the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Purple Sox held the sting over the Yankees for a lot of the 12 months however fell behind after a New York sweep in Boston from Sept. 24-26. The Purple Sox swept the Nationals on the ultimate weekend whereas the Yankees misplaced two of three to the AL East champion Rays to complete tied at 92-70; Boston earned home-field benefit by advantage of its 10-9 head-to-head file in opposition to New York.
That helped keep away from tiebreakers that may have necessitated a Recreation 163 on Monday in Boston.
It is a good factor, too.
Rain fell steadily within the metropolis, and the tarp by no means got here off the Fenway infield for what grew to become a exercise day for the wild-card qualifiers. The Yankees made it non-compulsory, with about half the group coming to the ballpark however doing their work indoors; a few dozen Purple Sox performed catch within the outfield.
The forecast for Tuesday is for the rain to cease within the morning and temperatures within the excessive 50s.
Boone mentioned he anticipated infielder Gio Urshela, who bruised his thigh making a sensational catch of a foul ball Sunday within the clincher in opposition to Tampa Bay, to have the ability to play in opposition to Boston. Cora was noncommittal about slugger J.D. Martinez, who slipped on second base as he was working out to his place within the outfield in opposition to Washington on Sunday.
Cora mentioned he anticipated to play Christian Arroyo at second and Kevin Plawecki at catcher. There’s “a very good likelihood” Jarren Duran can be on the roster, Cora mentioned.
Left-hander Chris Sale, who threw 62 pitches on Sunday however is getting back from Tommy John surgical procedure, tried to make the case for a spot on the roster in case he’s wanted within the bullpen, however Cora shut it down.
“He truly threw as we speak. He felt good. He stopped by the workplace and (I used to be) like, ‘No, we’re not doing that,'” Cora mentioned. “Hopefully he has an opportunity to start out once more right here in October.”