The Red Sox-Yankees ALDS showdown is one of the most anticipated playoff series this fall, and for good reason. In the first inning of Game 1, Boston slugger J.D. Martinez fueled the hype even further after he unloaded a three-run homer off of the Yankees’ J.A. Happ.
The ball — a 2-0 heater that topped out around 93 MPH — hurtled 374 feet out to the first row of seats atop the Green Monster to give the Red Sox an early 3-0 lead. It was the first postseason home run Martinez had collected since Game 1 of the 2017 NLDS, when he bested the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw with a solo home run, and the first Happ had given up since Game 2 of the 2016 ALCS.
Not content to rest on their laurels, the Red Sox returned in the third inning to pad their lead as Steve Pearce drove in another run against New York righty Chad Green and Xander Bogaerts followed up with a sac fly. They have yet to surrender a single run behind Chris Sale, who is working on a one-hitter after three scoreless innings of two-walk, five-strikeout ball. Boston currently leads 5-0 in the fourth.
Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.
In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.
We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.
Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.
Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.
Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.