Remember how Davey Johnson said he doesn’t “give a rat’s ass” if people get upset at him for resting players once the Nationals had the division title all locked up?
Well, he wasn’t kidding.
Tonight against the Phillies he’s starting Mark DeRosa at shortstop, which is noteworthy because DeRosa is 35 years old and last played shortstop in 2008. And even that was for all of one inning.
DeRosa last started a game at shortstop in … 2006.
September 2, 2006 to be exact. He was the Rangers’ starting shortstop in a lineup that also featured Mark Teixeira at first base, Carlos Lee in left field, Hank Blalock at third base, and Gary Matthews Jr. in center field. And they were facing Indians left-hander Cliff Lee.
So yeah, it’s been a while.
The Red Sox have clinched the AL East for a third consecutive season, beating the Yankees 11-6 in the Bronx on Thursday night. It’s the third consecutive season in which the Red Sox have won the division, the first time that’s ever been done in club history. In fact, the only other times the Red Sox won the division in back-to-back years were 1903-04 and 1915-16.
AL MVP candidate Mookie Betts went 4-for-5 with a two-run single in the second inning off of Masahiro Tanaka and a three-run homer in the eighth against Aroldis Chapman to put the game out of reach. Jackie Bradley and Brock Holt also hit homers. Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez was on the hook for five runs in 3 2/3 innings, but three of them scored when Heath Hembree inherited a bases-loaded situation, then served up a grand slam to Giancarlo Stanton in the fourth. The rest of the bullpen combined to fire five scoreless innings. Steven Wright had three of them followed by zeroes from Ryan Brasier and Craig Kimbrel.
With the loss, the Yankees’ lead over the Athletics for the first Wild Card slot shrinks to 1.5 games. Meanwhile, the Red Sox will try to clinch home field advantage throughout the playoffs. With a 104-49 record, their closest competitor is the 95-57 Astros. With nine games remaining in the regular season for the Red Sox, they would have to lose every game remaining in the regular season and the Astros would have to win their 10 remaining games in order to fail to claim home field advantage.