Red Sox storm into first place, beat Yankees 8-2

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Jumping all over CC Sabathia, the Red Sox racked up 13 hits and eight walks to beat the Yankees 8-2 in Monday’s opener.

A typical Red Sox-Yankees game, it finished about an hour and a half later than the Nationals’ 2-0 win over the Marlins, which also started at 1:05 p.m. EDT.

The Red Sox scored four times off Sabathia in the second, leading the Yankees to get the bullpen active. Sabathia was able to stay in and hold the Red Sox scoreless through the fifth, but the Red Sox got to both David Phelps and Joba Chamberlain out of the pen. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jose Iglesias collected three hits apiece for Boston, though none of Iglesias’s singles left the infield. 11 of Boston’s 13 hits were singles.

Jackie Bradley Jr., making his major league debut after a terrific spring, walked three times, scored twice, knocked in a run on a groundout and made a fantastic catch in left field to rob Robinson Cano of a double in the third.

While the Bombers got little going offensively today, their bigger concern has to be Sabathia’s diminished velocity. He was typically around 90 mph with his fastball, and he was forced to rely more on breaking balls and changeups as a result. It makes one wonder if he was going through his dead-arm period a bit later than most. The Yankees were protective of Sabathia this spring after October surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow.

Besides the patience displayed by the bottom half of the lineup, the Red Sox had to be most encouraged about the showing of their pen today. Jon Lester left after striking out seven in five innings, and Koji Uehara, Andrew Miller, Andrew Bailey, Junichi Tazawa and Joel Hanrahan combined to give up just one hit the rest of the way.

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Happy one-year anniversary of the Bryce Harper signing

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Last night Bill talked about how different this past offseason was than the one before as far as free agents go. This year all the big guys signed well before spring training and, Yasiel Puig aside, there aren’t many significant players left out on the market. It’s sort of how the hot stove season is supposed to go.

Last year, of course, was crazy. The two biggest free agents — Bryce Harper and Manny Machado — didn’t sign until February. In fact, Harper didn’t officially sign with Philly until March 2. One year ago today, however — February 28, 2019 — was the day the news of the impeding signing broke.

Over at NBC Sports Philly, they put together a video talking to Harper, Scott Boras, Matt Klentak and others who put the massive deal together. It gives you a sense of how the moving parts move in the runup to the biggest contract in baseball history.

It also gives you a sense of how much trouble Harper might’ve had had he gone with the other team who was in the bidding for him at the last minute: the Giants. Specifically, he keeps calling them “San Fran,” and if you know anyone from the Bay Area, you know just how much they hate it when people say “San Fran.” Don’t do that, folks.

Anyway here — apart from the tendering of a $330 million contract — is how Bryce Harper became a Phillie: