Gary Sanchez

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New York’s trade for Frazier, Robertson stokes old Yankees-Red Sox rivalry

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People talk a lot about the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, but it hasn’t truly been a rivalry in many years. It’s been a decade since they finished within less than six games of each other in the standings. Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Varitek, Pedro Martinez, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and everyone else who made this Boston-New York games interesting are retired. Heck, David Ortiz held up a “RE2PECT” sign when Derek Jeter retired. There’s no bad blood here anymore. To the extent people talk about this allegedly “bitter rivalry,” they’re engaging in early 21st century nostalgia.

But the trade Brian Cashman made for Todd Frazier, David Robertson, and Tommy Kahnle last night makes things a bit more interesting than it has been for some time.

On one level it changes things because it’s a signal that the Yankees, who have struggled of late after a surprisingly good first half, are truly going for it this year. That they would be wasn’t a given. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year of sorts, with young players like Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Clint Frazier getting used to the grind of a full season while New York’s well-stocked farm system matures. The idea: whatever happened this year was gravy, but true, sustained contention for the Yankees would be in the coming years, not in 2017.

While it may have been disappointing for fans, it would’ve been completely reasonable for the Yankees to smile at what they’ve done this year but to stand pat at the deadline, realizing that they’ll have better chances in the future. With Masahiro Tanaka eligible to opt out after this year and with CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda in walk years (and in Pineda’s case, injured) they need to address their rotation for the coming seasons. Those are long-term concerns, not immediate competitive ones, not necessarily amenable to a big splash. By making this trade, however, New York is signaling that it is, without question, shooting to make up the 3.5 games separating them and their rivals from Boston in 2017.

On another level, something about this trade gives us that 2003-2004 feeling in that, as the Yankees improved themselves, they also closed off a potential avenue for the Red Sox to do the same.

Boston has made no secret of its desire to fix its dreadful third base situation and over the weekend there were reports that they were interested in acquiring Frazier to do so. And, like almost every other team, they could stand to add relievers. By taking the best third baseman and arguably the best available bullpen arm in Frazier and Robertson, the Yankees made a bold, ready-for-storyline-based-columns move in the zero-sum competition with Boston.

I don’t expect all of this to translate into Varitek-Rodriguez-style face-shoving or Pedro Martinez-style bulletin board material, but it certainly makes the Red Sox-Yankees a a bit more interesting than it’s been of late. At the very least it should help tighten things up between the east coast rivals in the AL East and give those of us who remember the Boston-New York rivalry of the early 2000s something to talk about.

At least as long as the second place Rays don’t win 18 of 20 and bury them both. That would be a major bummer for us old guys and all the storyline writers, eh?

Logan Morrison unleashed a tremendous bat flip

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Logan Morrison made headlines a couple of weeks ago when he publicly groused about Gary Sanchez being selected instead of him for the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game.

On a numerical level Morrison probably had an argument — he had 24 homers heading into the break, which was good to put him among MLB’s dinger leaders — but as far as marquee value, he didn’t. Sanchez has been a better story since his callup last year and, frankly, more fans were likely interested in seeing him instead of Morrison.

Maybe if Morrison had displayed the sort of showmanship he exhibited yesterday when he hit a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh inning of the Rays contest against the Angels, more people would’ve wanted to see him. Check out the bat-flip:

Of course it’s also possible people would still want to see Gary Sanchez more and Morrison would just get pitches to the ribs more often. Baseball is sometimes difficult to predict.

Morrison now has 26 homers and is hitting .257/.365/.571 on the year.

Yankees top Red Sox 4-1 in 16th; Boston plays under protest

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BOSTON — Didi Gregorius lined a go-ahead single in the 16th inning and the New York Yankees outlasted the Boston Red Sox 4-1 Saturday in the longest game between the bitter rivals at Fenway Park since 1966.

Matt Holliday hit a tying home run off Boston closer Craig Kimbrel in the ninth that cleared the Green Monster, and it took 5 hours, 50 minutes and 512 pitches to finish. That is, if it’s really over – the Red Sox put the game under protest after a bizarre play on the bases involving Holliday in the 11th.

Both teams burned through their bullpens, and the relievers won’t get much rest. The Yankees and the AL East-leading Red Sox are set for a day-night doubleheader Sunday.

Boston starter Chris Sale struck out 13 in 7 2/3 scoreless innings of three-hit ball. He leads the majors with 191 strikeouts.

Yankees starter Luis Severino allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He gave up Mitch Moreland‘s sacrifice fly in the third.

Ben Heller (1-0) went two innings. Seven Yankees relievers combined to blank Boston on four hits for nine innings.

Doug Fister (0-3) gave up three runs in the 16th. Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a double, Gregorius and Austin Romine hit RBI singles and Gary Sanchez added a sacrifice fly.

A day after Yankees blew a ninth-inning lead and lost, they rallied to win for just the eighth time in 28 games. New York closed within 3 1/2 games of Boston.

The Red Sox had been 43-0 when leading after eight. Kimbrel, the winning pitcher in the All-Star Game on Tuesday night, had his first career blown save at Fenway following 30 successful ones.

Red Sox manager John Farrell put the game under protest after an odd sequence in the 11th.

Holliday led off with a walk and Ellsbury followed with a grounder to Moreland at first base. Moreland threw to second for a forceout but Holliday retreated toward first and slid into the bag as shortstop Xander Bogaerts‘ throw arrived.

Moreland wasn’t able to reach the ball, which hit Ellsbury and bounced into foul territory. Farrell argued in favor of an interference call and after a lengthy review, the umpires allowed Ellsbury to stay on first.

The clubs last played 16 at Fenway on June 4, 1966, when Jim Gosger’s three-run homer gave Boston a 6-3 victory.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Yankees: Manager Joe Girardi said the club was “hopeful” that OF Aaron Hicks, on the 10-day disabled list with a strained right oblique, would “start doing some light baseball activity” when the club returns from its season-long, 11-game trip.

Red Sox: Placed RHP Joe Kelly on the 10-day DL before the game with a strained left hamstring and recalled RHP Brandon Workman from Triple-A. . RHP Blaine Boyer left with right elbow tightness. . Bogaerts put on a soft brace to support his left ring and pinkie finger under his batting glove halfway through batting practice.

HONORED

The Red Sox welcomed about 1,300 Vietnam veterans and their families onto the field during a pregame ceremony.

UP NEXT

Yankees: RHP Bryan Mitchell (1-1, 5.06 ERA) is set for the opener and RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-8, 5.47) in the nightcap Sunday.

Red Sox: RHP Rick Porcello (4-11, 4.75) and LHP David Price (4-2, 3.91) are slated to start.