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Red Sox strike first in ALDS Game 4, take 3-0 lead

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Update (9:21 PM ET): It’s now 4-0 as Christian Vásquez was able to sneak a solo home run over the fence in right field off of Zach Britton in the top of the fourth inning.

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The Red Sox got to CC Sabathia in the third inning of Tuesday night’s ALDS Game 4 in the Bronx. After Sabathia held the Sox scoreless in the first two frames, he led off frame number three by hitting Andrew Benintendi with a pitch (unintentionally). Steve Pearce followed up with a single to move Benintendi to third, who promptly scored on a J.D. Martinez sacrifice fly.

Given the circumstances, Yankees manager Aaron Boone probably should’ve had a reliever warming up after Sabathia hit Benintendi and certainly after Pearce singled. But no one stirred. Sabathia got Xander Bogaerts to ground out, bringing up Ian Kinsler. Sabathia uncorked a wild pitch, allowing Pearce to move to third. Kinsler then doubled to left field, plating Pearce to make the score 2-0. Eduardo Núñez brought Kinsler home with a single to left field to push the lead to three runs. Sabathia finally got out of the inning by inducing a ground out from Jackie Bradley, Jr.

Sabathia is certainly done after three innings, but he probably should’ve been done a lot sooner than that. Boone made some questionable decisions in Game 3 and his decision not to have a reliever warm up in the third inning of Game 4 will certainly be a hot topic of conversation, especially if the Yankees end up getting eliminated tonight.

Sandy Koufax to be honored with statue at Dodger Stadium

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Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports that Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax will be honored with a statue at Dodger Stadium, expected to be unveiled in 2020. Dodger Stadium will be undergoing major renovations, expected to cost around $100 million, after the season. Koufax’s statue will go in a new entertainment plaza beyond center field. The current statue of Jackie Robinson will be moved into the same area.

Koufax, 83, had a relatively brief career, pitching parts of 12 seasons in the majors, but they were incredible. He was a seven-time All-Star who won the National League Cy Young Award three times (1963, ’65-66) and the NL Most Valuable Player Award once (’63). He contributed greatly to the ’63 and ’65 championship teams and authored four no-hitters, including a perfect game in ’65.

Koufax was also influential in other ways. As Shaikin notes, Koufax refused to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series to observe Yom Kippur. It was an act that would attract national attention and turn Koufax into an American Jewish icon.

Ahead of the 1966 season, Koufax and Don Drysdale banded together to negotiate against the Dodgers, who were trying to pit the pitchers against each other. They sat out spring training, deciding to use their newfound free time to sign  on to the movie Warning Shot. Several weeks later, the Dodgers relented, agreeing to pay Koufax $125,000 and Drysdale $110,000, which was then a lot of money for a baseball player. It would be just a few years later that Curt Flood would challenge the reserve clause. Koufax, Drysdale, and Flood helped the MLB Players Association, founded in 1966, gain traction under the leadership of Marvin Miller.