Yankees vs. Red Sox: Live Updates of A.L. Wild-Card Game


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ImageYankees vs. Red Sox: Live Updates of A.L. Wild-Card Game
Bucky Dent’s three-run homer in the Yankees’ win over the Red Sox on Oct. 2, 1978, earned him a colorful nickname.Credit...Frank O'Brien/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

It is impossible to approach a do-or-die game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park without thinking of Bucky Dent’s heroics in a tiebreaker game in 1978. The win in a 163rd regular season game catapulted the Yankees to the postseason and a World Series title. It furthered despair among Red Sox fans to the point that Dent earned himself an unprintable nickname throughout New England.

In interviews with Dent and Ron Guidry, the Yankees’ starting pitcher in that 1978 game, Gary Phillips got some tips on how to win a game like this.

When asked how the Yankees could get past the Boston Red Sox in a wild-card game that could extend or end a season that has had countless ups and downs, Bucky Dent had some tongue-in-cheek advice: “Use Mickey Rivers’s bat.”

That move worked for Dent 43 years ago; who’s to say it wouldn’t for a Yankee on Tuesday night?

Because of an injury, J.D. Martinez will not be available for the Red Sox on Tuesday.Credit...Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

J.D. Martinez, the most decorated slugger on the Boston Red Sox, is not on the team’s wild-card game roster and as a result will not play in Tuesday night’s game. Martinez suffered a bizarre injury in the sixth inning of Sunday’s regular season finale against Washington, slipping when he stepped on second base while running out to his position.

Because the Red Sox, an American League team, were playing in a National League park, the Nationals’ home, Martinez was playing the outfield instead of his traditional designated hitter spot.

“J.D. has been stepping on that bag for 10 years,” Red Sox Manager Alex Cora said on Tuesday afternoon. “It just happened that he slipped.”

Martinez, 34 — a World Series winner with the Red Sox in 2018, a three-time Silver Slugger and a four-time All Star, including this season — had bounced back from a rough 2020 season to hit .286 with 28 home runs and 99 runs batted in. He trailed only third baseman Rafael Devers, 24, in on-base plus slugging percentage and R.B.I. on the Red Sox this season.

To account for Martinez’s absence, the Red Sox shifted their lineup around. Kyle Schwarber is the designated hitter, Bobby Dalbec is the first baseman, and the outfield will be Enrique Hernandez, Hunter Renfroe and Alex Verdugo.

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Yankees vs. Red Sox: Live Updates of A.L. Wild-Card Game
Oct. 5, 2021, 5:43 p.m. ET

In the realm of omens, this one is almost too real to believe. The Massachusetts state lottery on Monday evening had a game come up with the winning numbers 1-9-7-8. Surprisingly, there were only 18 tickets with those exact numbers.

Gerrit Cole warmed up Tuesday on a slightly soggy Fenway Park outfield.Credit...Mary Schwalm/Associated Press

We know when the American League wild-card game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox should start. The open question, when dealing with teams that are known for games that drag into the wee hours, is when it will end. The do-or-die game comes after a wild final day of the regular season in which there stood a very real possibility of a four-way tie for two postseason spots. That the Yankees and the Red Sox both won their games, and clinched postseason spots, with final-inning heroics was just showing off.

  • Who: Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox

  • What: The American League wild-card game

  • Location: Fenway Park, Boston

  • Stakes: A spot in a league division series against the Tampa Bay Rays (and bragging rights over a fierce rival)

  • Start time: 8:08 p.m. Eastern

  • Finish time: Eventually

  • TV: ESPN

  • Streaming: Various services like Sling, Hulu Live and FuboTV will carry the ESPN feed, which is also available via WatchESPN and the ESPN app.

Gerrit Cole of the Yankees started four games against the Boston Red Sox this season. He went 2-2 with a 4.91 E.R.A. Most recently, on Sept. 24, he outdueled Nathan Eovaldi in Boston.Credit...Winslow Townson/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Tonight’s game will be a matchup of the Yankees ace Gerrit Cole and Nathan Eovaldi of the Boston Red Sox, who a few lifetimes ago was miscast as a future ace in the Bronx.

The Yankees are hoping that Cole, their $324 million star, can step up as their go-to guy when they need him most. There are no guarantees, however. He was a favorite for the Cy Young Award for much of the season, and ended up going 16-8 with a 3.23 E.R.A. and 243 strikeouts. But a sharp fade down the stretch, and his connection with baseball’s enforcement of its sticky substance policy, will most likely hand that award to Robbie Ray of the Toronto Blue Jays.

Eovaldi, on the other hand, has come a long way from his days of not quite living up to expectations with the Yankees in 2015 and 2016. He fought through some injuries and spent some time as a reliever, and this year he became an ace of sorts for Boston, going 11-9 with a 3.75 E.R.A. and 195 strikeouts. At least one metric indicates he was better than it seemed: His fielding independent pitching score, which is an estimate of a pitcher’s E.R.A. in events he was solely responsible for, was an American League-leading 2.79 — one spot ahead of Cole and seven spots ahead of Ray.

Boston, however, will have to hope Eovaldi has a short memory: In his last start against the Yankees, on Sept. 24, he was tattooed for seven runs in two and two-thirds innings. The winning pitcher of that game? Gerrit Cole.