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The two defensive plays that won Game 4 for the Red Sox

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Craig Kimbrel has been a cardiac kid  in the postseason so far and he was no different last night. Called upon for a two-inning save, it no doubt would’ve been a two-inning blown save if not for Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi, each of whom turned in brilliant defensive plays that saved Kimbrel’s and the Red Sox’ bacon.

Kimbrel gave up hits to the first three batters he faced in the eighth inning. The only reason he gave up just one run with all of that traffic, though, was became the guy with the leadoff hit, Tony Kemp, was gunned down trying for two. As you’ll see, it was a pretty reasonable try. Nine times out of ten this hit is a double, but Betts was simply not having it:

 

What a hose that guys has.

Taking their two-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, Kimbrel again was working in trouble, issuing back-to-back walks to Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa and then, after out number two, walking Kemp to load the bases. That’s when the dangerous Alex Bregman, bumped up to the leadoff position for Game 5, walked to the plate.

Given how often he’s been on base in the postseason I would’ve bet a fair amount that he’d plate at least one run, and when he hit the ball into shallow left field I figured that run was on its way. Andrew Benintendi had different ideas.

And yes, I’m embedding the Spanish language broadcast. It’s way more exciting a call, frankly:

 

“Defense wins championships” is a football saying, but it could have some applicability to baseball given these two plays which played an outsized part in moving them one game away from an American League championship.

 

Report: Yankees close to signing Gio González to minor league deal

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Jon Heyman reports that the Yankees are close to signing starter Gio González. Per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the deal is of the minor league variety that will pay González $3 million if he makes the major league roster.

González, 33, made 27 starts for the Nationals before being sent to the Brewers ahead of the now-defunct August 31 waiver trade deadline. In aggregate, González went 10-11 with a 4.21 ERA and a 148/80 K/BB ratio in 171 innings. He was solid in his five starts with the Brewers, going 3-0 with a 2.13 ERA.

Neither Luis Severino nor CC Sabathia will be ready for the start of the season, so González will add some immediate depth at the back of the Yankees’ rotation. Sabathia will likely return before Severino. When that happens, González may be pushed out of the rotation.