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Red Sox send message to Yankees, Brian Cashman

Rob Bradford
August 02, 2018 - 11:52 pm

Brian Cashman has been known to poke the bear a bit.

Remember the Yankees general manager hanging in the Swan and Dolphin Resort the night the Sox signed Carl Crawford, telling anyone who would listen the Red Sox paid $40 million more than their nearest competitor. Or how about the proclamation that Dave Dombrowski had put together baseball's version of the Golden State Warriors after trading for Chris Sale.

Then came this piece of gold from Cashman Tuesday night: "You wonder what their record would be if they weren’t playing us. Because when we go head to head, we do some damage against them and it doesn’t seem like anybody else is capable."

It was too spicy not to see if Alex Cora would keep it going when conducting his pregame media session Thursday. No such luck.

"Which one? There’s a few," said Cora when asked if he wanted to comment on Cashman's quote. "Don’t lead me into that one. He also said that he would love be in our position, that he respects the way we’re playing. I leave it at that."

Fair enough. But when you've been as successful as the Red Sox, passive-aggressive salvos like the one issued by Cashman aren't ignored. 

The Red Sox have been historically good and this was the first time they could actually make people realize it. And one of those people whose eyelids they undoubtedly wanted to prop up and make witness the carnage first-hand ("Clockwork Orange" style) was the Yankees' chief decision-maker. And Alex Cora's team didn't disappoint. Everything about the Red Sox' 15-7 win over New York reeked of a message being sent. (For a complete recap, click here.)

The Yankees had their avenue to take their GM's words and parade them around Fenway Park. Taking a 4-0 lead against the pitcher who was replacing Chris Sale, Brian Johnson, after four innings was a step in that direction. And the fact that the guy who seemingly owned the Red Sox, CC Sabathia, was on the mound certainly wasn't going to put a dent in the narrative that the Yankees were the shadow that loomed over Boston's season.

And this notion that the Yankees were the real deal and the Red Sox were the most fortunate 41-games-over-.500 team in the history of baseball wasn't just reserved for those images on the field. This was a New York club that was getting oohs and aahs with its acquisitions of Zach Britton and J.A. Happ. 

Then came the fourth inning. That's when we may have finally come to grips that when it comes to this Red Sox team the pieces in this puzzle just fit. That's the best way to put it.

"Relentless," said Cora of the eight-run fourth. "That was probably our best offensive inning of the season, and we’ve had some good ones. Running. Taking pitches. Hitting the ball hard. Putting the ball in play with men in scoring position. Putting the ball in play with men at third and less than two outs. All around, it was good. It was good. It was about time, you know? We’ve been struggling offensively, and we go from our top five hitters go 0-for-100 against the Phillies in one game and then all of a sudden, that happened. We’ll take our chances. We’re good offensively. We can do a lot of things. On a daily basis, we feel that we can score runs against anybody."

Farm system or no farm system, for the third season in a row Dombrowski has seemingly aced his non-waiver trade deadline test. Steve Pearce hit three home runs. Ian Kinsler made two stellar defensive plays to go along with three hits. And Nathan Eovaldi is offering as much starting pitching optimism as any late-July pickup.

"They’re winners," said Jackie Bradley Jr. of the newest acquisitions. "They helped us win today. Their mentality is to win, to help the team win. That’s what we’re all about."

Things can change in a hurry, and it is only early August. But as Thursday turned into Friday the Red Sox had managed to secure what would seem to be a significant moment. They are now 6 1/2 games up in the American League East, exorcised their Sabathia demons with 19 hits, and offered a reminder to Cashman and Co. that you don't accumulate seven more wins than anybody else in baseball by just beating up on the Orioles and Royals of the world.

For one night the Red Sox showed just how good they can be. It just so happened they did it against the one team that might not have been totally convinced of Boston's dominance.

The Yankees probably don't need much convincing anymore.

Related Red Sox content:

- Pearce delivers game of his life with 3 home runs

- Bogaerts could return Friday