NEW YORK (AP) — Aaron Judge walked past Boston’s Fenway Park clubhouse early Sunday morning, Frank Sinatra’s rendition of “New York, New York” blaring from a boom box atop the wheelie bag he was pulling with his left hand.
“It’s a good song. And Aaron, he’s one of our resident deejays, so he’s got a pretty extensive playlist,” New York manager Aaron Boone said later in the day at Yankee Stadium, a smirk filling his face. “We like to hear that song sometimes when we win a big game.”
New York and Boston split at Fenway Park and are tied 1-1 in the best-of-five AL Division Series going into Game 3 on Monday night. Luis Severino, coming off four scoreless innings in the wild-card game against Oakland, starts for New York and former Yankees pitcher Nathan Eovaldi pitches for the Red Sox.
Severino was 10-2 with a 2.74 ERA and .217 opponents’ batting average at home, just 9-6 with a 3.99 ERA and .257 opponents’ batting average on the road.
“Maybe my wife cooks better food here,” he said.
New York is 19-9 in the postseason at new Yankee Stadium, where boisterous Bronx crowds try to intimidate. The Yankees’ were 53-28 there during the regular season, the second-best home record behind Boston’s 57-24. The win over Oakland in last week’s wild-card game improved New York to 7-0 at home in the postseason since the start of the 2017 playoffs.
“The fans, they’re out there on the field with you,” Judge said. “Every single pitch they’re locked in. It’s electric.”
New York is built for Yankee Stadium, where it takes advantage of the short right-field porch and hit 144 of its record 267 home runs. Boston is constructed in a similar fashion, knowing half its games are played in front of Fenway’s Green Monster lurking in left field.
“Two places that are historic franchises where the fans are definitely rowdy for their home team and against the visiting team,” Red Sox reliever Matt Barnes said.
Here’s Aaron Judge walking past the Red Sox clubhouse on his way to the bus. Note the music selection on his boom box pic.twitter.com/0vHGBxRoP3
— Jim Witalka (@jwitalka) October 7, 2018
This will be the first postseason game in the Bronx between the rivals since Boston won Games 6 and 7 of the 2004 AL Championship Series across the street at old Yankee Stadium, becoming the first major league team to overcome a 3-0 deficit in a best-of-seven postseason series.
“All empires fall sooner or later,” then-Red Sox president Larry Lucchino said that night.
A year earlier, Boone’s 11th-inning homer off Tim Wakefield won Game 7 and the AL pennant. Now he’s a rookie manager, leading a group of Baby Bombers that reached Game 7 of the AL Championship Series last year before losing to Houston.
“This fan base I feel like absolutely connected with kind of this new generation of Yankee player, this young corps that has developed,” Boone said . “Me watching from afar last year, especially in the postseason, you could kind of see that raw intensity connection that the fan base had with the players.”
For all the focus on big boppers, J.D. Martinez, Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi for Boston, and Judge, Giancarlo Stanton and Gary Sanchez for New York, relievers have reigned in an error when starting pitchers often are shown the exit before they have a chance to stumble too much.
New York’s bullpen has allowed one run in 10 innings, led by Dellin Betances, Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman. Red Sox relievers have given up five in 11 innings.
Hoping for a deep outing, Boston manager Alex Cora selected Eovaldi for Game 3 over Rick Porcello, who pitched two-thirds of an inning of relief in Friday’s opener and now will match up against 38-year-old left-hander CC Sabathia in Game 4.
Eovaldi was 3-3 with a 3.33 in 11 starts and one relief appearance for the Red Sox, who acquired him from Tampa Bay in July. The 28-year-old right-hander, who throws at 97-98 mph, allowed no earned runs in three of four starts this year against the Yankees. He pitched for New York in 2015 and ’16 before injuring his elbow, which required Tommy John surgery for the second time.
His goal is to keep bats and fans quiet.
“Trying to keep the ball in the ballpark — try and get quick outs, try not to let the crowd get too crazy and get behind them and get them going,” he said.
Cora and the Red Sox wouldn’t sound off about Judge’s musical taste — not that they could hear the famous Kander and Ebb song on Fenway’s concourse through thick clubhouse walls after the 6-2 win in Game 2.
“That’s probably just something they do when they win,” the manager said.
Yankees players were ready for familiar sounds when the series resume.
“It’s been a while since Boston played Yankees in the playoffs. So the fans are going to be excited,” Betances said. “They were pretty loud for that Oakland game. This is going to be a little crazier for this Boston game, for sure.”
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel tossed a football with pitching coach Dana LeVangie before throwing a baseball in the outfield.
Red Sox: 1B Mitch Moreland had what Cora called aggressive treatment on his right hamstring, which forced him from Game 2.
Yankees: CF Aaron Hicks hopes to be back in the lineup after missing Game 2 because of right hamstring tightness, but Boone said it was unclear if the leg might need another day to deal.