BOSTON -- Fans here don't think much anymore about the home run Aaron Boone tucked just inside Yankee Stadium's left-field foul pole in October 2003. The Boston Red Sox, after all, have won three World Series since then, including putting an end to their so-called curse a year after that American League Championship Series defeat. But in New York, it's a different story. Virtually anywhere Boone has gone in the Big Apple during the 15 years following his 11th-inning walk-off that put the New York Yankees in another World Series, a stranger has had a story to tell him.
Just this past Sunday morning, on his way to the Bronx for the series finale against the Orioles, Boone, now the Yankees' manager, listened patiently as his Uber driver giddily recalled a bloody mess he made of himself the night of Game 7. "He jumped over something and he cut his arm and stuff," Boone says, grinning. "He was pretty fired up." Starting Tuesday night, Boone and his fellow [url=http://www.officialtampabaylightning.com/Adidas-Matthew-Spencer-Jersey]http://www.officialtampabaylightning.com/Adidas-Matthew-Spencer-Jersey[/url] first-year manager, Boston's Alex Cora, will attempt to keep their emotions in check as they battle for the first time in 2018. Ahead of the three-game set at Fenway, we caught up with the managers and former ESPN broadcasters to get their take on each other's teams, and on what they believe they'll bring to the old rivalry in their new roles.
When the Astros -- with Cora as the team's bench coach -- visited Miami last May, Giancarlo Stanton was in the midst of a 14-game homerless stretch, the longest drought [url=http://www.dallasstarsofficialonline.com/Adidas-Jamie-Oleksiak-Jersey]Jamie Oleksiak Authentic Jersey[/url] of his MVP season. He was particularly quiet [url=http://www.bearsofficialauthenticstore.com/Prince_Amukamara_Jersey_Cheap]Prince Amukamara Jersey[/url] against the Astros, going 2-for-9 with one double, two walks and four strikeouts. But as Cora watched a Marlins game on television later in the season, he noticed Stanton had changed his mechanics at the plate.
"I know he made an adjustment with his front leg," Cora says, referring to Stanton moving his front foot closer to the plate than his back foot, making his swing more compact while maintaining his power. "I think he's more disciplined on the inside part of the plate now, and that's why he's been able to cover the plate more because he's been disciplined.
"We've got to wait and see which Stanton we get [this] week. These guys, they change a lot. For how great they are, they have their weeks that they're aggressive, [url=http://www.philadelphiaeagles.us.com/WOMENS-TIMMY-JERNIGAN-JERSEY.html]Timmy Jernigan Authentic Jersey[/url] others they're passive and others they're hitting home runs. Hopefully we get the aggressive ones. Obviously he's very talented. It's going to be very difficult, we know that. But I think you take a look at our [starting pitching] staff
and it's a pretty good one, too. You've got to be ready, but we feel that we have the pitching to compete with them." Stanton enters this series having gone 3-for-28 (.107) with 16 strikeouts in the Yankees' six-game homestand. He recorded two five-strikeout games this past week, drawing boos from the home crowd. As enticing as the Green Monster must have looked to Aaron Judge during his superhuman rookie season, it wound up having the effect of an emerald-colored wall of Kryptonite.
Judge homered in his first at-bat against the Red Sox last April 26 -- his birthday [url=http://www.packersofficialfootballshop.com/Super-Bowl-Ha-Ha-Clintondix-Jersey]Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Authentic Jersey[/url] -- at Fenway Park. He didn't go deep again until his second-to-last at-bat there -- 86 plate appearances later -- on Sept. 3. Overall, he was 11-for-73 with two homers and 30 strikeouts against the Sox, who attacked him with elevated fastballs and cutters. Thirty-one percent of the pitches Judge saw from Boston were in the upper-third of the strike zone, according to ESPN Stats & Information, and he batted .097 and slugged .194 against those pitches.
But while pitching coach Dana LeVangie, the lone holdover from last [url=http://www.officialcardinalsbaseball.com/authentic-13-matt-carpenter-jersey.html]http://www.officialcardinalsbaseball.com/authentic-13-matt-carpenter-jersey.html[/url] year's coaching staff, figures to tap into that successful scouting report, Cora won't assume the Red Sox have solved the riddle of Judge. "For whatever people think, he has his holes, but this guy controls the strike zone," Cora says. "He does an outstanding job of not expanding. At that stage of the playoffs, it's different and the stuff he was seeing [from the 2017 Astros] was [url=http://www.falconsauthenticofficialstore.com/keanu-neal-jersey_c-492.html]http://www.falconsauthenticofficialstore.com/keanu-neal-jersey_c-492.html[/url] tough. But he's a complete player.
"You know what really got my attention about Judge? The way he plays defense. He won one of the [ALCS] games defensively -- he robbed a home run, he got a ball in the gap. He's a great athlete. He can do a lot of stuff. He picks his spots running the bases. He's more of a complete player than what people think. He reminds me of [Green Bay Packers tight end] Jimmy Graham. [url=http://www.footballgiantsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_MARK_HERZLICH_JERSEY.html]http://www.footballgiantsofficial.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_MARK_HERZLICH_JERSEY.html[/url] He's that type of athlete. If he wanted to, he could be a tight end in the NFL."
Tanaka and Martinez will see each other again this week when the righty Tanaka pitches Wednesday. In barely two weeks with his new team, Martinez has already doubled, tripled and homered for the Red Sox. Boone and Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild are well aware of the big-fly potential Martinez possesses. They know 34-year-old vet Hanley Ramirez has that same capability, too -- "He's already got a couple big hits for them," Boone says of Ramirez.
But Boone's biggest concern is how dangerous Boston is once it gets runners on base ahead of Ramirez and Martinez in the heart of the order."It's a very athletic team," Boone says. "Kind of different than the old-school Red Sox that will kind of bash you to death. This is a team that's really athletic on defense and on the bases.
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