The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday evening in Boston, clinching a playoff berth in the process. Brock Holt had the big hit, slugging a three-run home run off of Ryan Tepera in the seventh inning to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Chris Sale returned to the mound for the first time since August 12. He tossed one scoreless inning with two strikeouts as the “opener” before giving way to the bullpen.
Tuesday’s win was No. 99 on the season for the Red Sox, who also have only 46 losses on the season. They are currently on pace to win 111 games. The club record is 105 wins, held by the 1912 squad which won the World Series over the New York Giants.
As of this writing, the Yankees are losing 10-5 to the Twins, so the Red Sox stand to push their AL East lead to nine games. Any combination of 10 more Red Sox wins or Yankee losses will clinch the AL East for the Red Sox. If the Red Sox do indeed clinch the AL East as expected, it will be their third consecutive division title, a feat that currently has never been done in club history.
The Red Sox will also be mindful of home field advantage, holding the best record in the league. The Yankees and Astros both entered Tuesday 90-54, the closest competitors for home field advantage.
The Yankees appear to have moved on from free agent Manny Machado this winter, but could they be turning their attention to Rockies superstar Nolan Arenado? That’s the idea floated by Andy Martino of SNY, who hears that GM Brian Cashman has been involved in recent discussions concerning the third baseman. No official comments have been made to the press yet, though, and it’s not clear whether the Yankees would prefer to pursue Arenado prior to the 2019 season or partway through it.
The 27-year-old infielder earned his fourth consecutive All-Star nomination, Silver Slugger, and Gold Glove award in 2018 after slashing .297/.374/.561 with 38 home runs, a .935 OPS, and 5.7 fWAR across 673 plate appearances. There’s no question he’s provided immense value to Colorado’s lineup over the last half-decade, and his consistency and incredible power at the plate helped form the basis of the record $30 million arbitration figure he presented to the team last week. The Rockies countered at $24 million, however, and in doing so may have jeopardized their chances of convincing the infielder to forego free agency in 2020 and take a long-term deal instead.
Assuming he declines to negotiate an extension with the Rockies, Arenado’s decorated résumé and career-best 2018 numbers should attract plenty of interest around the league — a reality that could put considerable pressure on the Yankees (or any other interested party) to finesse a deal sooner rather than later. For now, the club is prepared to enter the 2019 season with hot-hitting third baseman Miguel Andújar, whom Martino speculates would be the “centerpiece” of any trade with Colorado.