Facing those seemingly insurmountable odds, the Yankees have turned to the most unlikely source of inspiration.
His rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Back in 2004, the Red Sox were in the same situation, against the same Yankees. But Boston somehow pulled off the impossible, winning two games in Boston before winning a couple of games in the Bronx, including game seven. That allowed the Red Sox to advance to the World Series where they would beat the St. Louis Cardinalsclinching their first title since 1918, and putting an end to the chants of “1918” that rained down from the stands every time they visited New York.
Now, with the Yankees in that situation, they turn to that series for inspiration ahead of a do-or-die Game 4:
Aaron Boone said that Chad Bohling, the #Yankees‘ mental skills coach, was sending video highlights from the 2004 Red Sox this morning. Eduardo Pérez also FaceTimed David Ortiz at Boone’s office before the game.
—Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 23, 2022
As noted here, the Yankees are trying to build on a message spread by then-Boston first baseman Kevin Millar before Game 4 in 2004: “Don’t let us win this one.”
Boone said that NYY director of mental conditioning Chad Bohling circulated a 3-minute video of the 2004 Red Sox comeback from 0-3 in the American League Championship Series among the NYY coaching staff, shared with the players. Yes, he went at the Yankees’ expense, but he emphasized Millar’s message “Don’t let us win one.”
—Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) October 23, 2022
What could be more critical for New York as Game 4 approaches? Putting their bats in gear. The Yankees haven’t scored a run since the fourth inning of Game 2 and were shut out 5-0 in Game 3 on Saturday. Aaron Judge, who set a new AL single-season record for home runs this year, has just one hit in 12 at-bats in the AL Championship Series, a single in Game 2.
But Judge isn’t alone in his troubles at the plate, as New York bats have been largely silenced by Houston pitchers. Astros pitching combined to strike out 30 Yankees batters in the first two games of the series, and the Yankees had just three hits in Saturday’s shutout.
Unless New York gets those bats going, all the inspiration the world can get from what their bitter rivals did to them in 2004 might not be enough.