Don’t count on the Yankees to pick a fight with their heated rival Red Sox on Thursday night, according to Aaron Boone.
Although the teams aren’t 24 hours removed from a benches-clearing brawl provoked by Tyler Austin and Joe Kelly during the seventh inning of Wednesday’s game at Fenway Park, Boone told WFAN Radio’s The Afternoon Drive with Carlin, Bart and Maggie that he doesn’t expect his players to retaliate in the series finale.
“We move on, and our focus tonight is to go out there and try to win us a series,” Boone said. “We’re always communicating as a team, whether it’s me with the coaches, whether it’s me with the players. There’ll be nothing that I address as a whole with the team, but we’re constantly having conversations and we put this behind us now. It’s on to tonight and trying to go out there and focusing on getting a win… It’s turn the page and play ball tonight.”
The fray was ignited in the third inning when Austin made a hard and late slide into second base on a double play attempt. Once Austin reached the bag, his spike struck Red Sox infielder Brock Holt in the leg, and the two exchanged words once the play was over. That brief chat also led to both teams leaving the dugouts and bullpens without incident, and umpires determined that the play wasn’t reviewable.
“I didn’t think there was anything to get upset about from a Boston standpoint, frankly,” Boone told WFAN. “I thought the slide was obviously unintentional. I didn’t think it was very aggressive at all.”
Benches clear, punches thrown in Yankees-Red Sox after Tyler Austin is hit by a pitch from Joe Kelly. pic.twitter.com/wvqoak8QMV
But the Red Sox thought otherwise. Four innings later, Kelly drilled Austin with a 98 mph fastball to the left elbow, and the melee ensued. Austin and Kelly were immediately ejected from the game, as were Tommy Kanhle and third base coach Phil Nevin.
Major League Baseball announced that Austin will receive a five-game suspension (plus an undisclosed fine), while Kelly will receive six games (plus an undisclosed fine). Both players have elected to appeal the decision.
Additionally, Nevin and Red Sox manager Alex Cora are being fined. Since players on the disabled list are not allowed to enter the field of play, CC Sabathia, Xander Bogaerts, Dustin Pedroia, and Marco Hernandez were also fined.
Before Wednesday, the physical and violent nature to the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry had arguably been absent for over a decade. But memories from the 2003 and 2004 ALCS battles are fresh in the minds of fans — and Boone — once again.
“We know we’re looking across at a really good club,” Boone said. “We think we have a really good club. So, it’s definitely fun to play in these games or to be a manager in these games because it does feel like there’s a lot on the line.
“It’s two quality teams going at it. So, it is a lot of fun to be a part of it and it’s something I appreciate. But I try not to get too caught up in what it all means as we really just focus in from a game plan standpoint on how we want to go out there and attack them.”