Facing those seemingly insurmountable odds, the Yankees have turned to the most unlikely of sources for inspiration.
Their rivals, the Boston Red Sox.
Back in 2004, the Red Sox were in the same situation, against the Yankees themselves. But Boston somehow pulled off the impossible, winning two games in Boston before winning a pair 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 Cardinals, securing their first title since 1918, and ending the chants of “1918” that would rain down from the bleachers every time they visited New York.
Now, with the Yankees in that situation, they are turning to that series for inspiration before a do-or-die Game 4:
Aaron Boone said that Chad Bohling, the #Yankees’ mental skills coach, was sending around highlight videos of the 2004 Red Sox this morning. Eduardo Perez also FaceTimed David Ortiz into Boone’s office pregame.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) October 23, 2022
As noted here, the Yankees are trying to lean into a message spread by then-Boston first baseman Kevin Millar before Game 4 back in 2004: “Do not let us win this one.”
Boone said NYY director of mental conditioning Chad Bohling circulated a 3 minute video of the ‘04 Red Sox comeback from down 0-3 in the ALCS among NYY coaching staff, shared with the players. Yes, it was at Yanks’ expense but emphasized Millar’s ‘Don’t let us win one’ message.
— Pete Caldera (@pcaldera) October 23, 2022
What might be more critical for New York as Game 4 looms? Getting their bats going. The Yankees have not scored a run since the fourth inning of Game 2, and were shutout 5-0 in Game 3 on Saturday. Aaron Judge, who set a new American League single-season home run record this year, has just a single hit in 12 at-bats in the ALCS, a single back in Game 2.
But Judge is not alone in his struggles at the plate, as the New York bats have largely been silenced by Houston’s pitching. Astros pitchers combined to strike out 30 Yankees batters in the first two games of the series, and the Yankees scratched out just three hits in Saturday’s shutout.
Unless New York gets those bats going, all the inspiration in the world they can draw from what their bitter rivals did to them in 2004 might not be enough.