Bucky Dent knows how the Yankees can beat the Red Sox

When asked how the Yankees could overtake the Boston Red Sox in a wildcard game that could extend or end a season that has seen countles...


When asked how the Yankees could overtake the Boston Red Sox in a wildcard game that could extend or end a season that has seen countless ups and downs, Bucky Dent offered a tongue-in-cheek advice: “Use Mickey Rivers’ bat. “

This movement worked for Dent 43 years ago; who can say that would not be the case for a Yankee on Tuesday night?

Like the current team, a miserable game at Fenway Park determined whether Dent and the 1978 Yankees would continue their season. This time it wasn’t a playoff game, but rather a 163rd regular-season game as a tie-breaker made necessary after the Yankees erased the Boston Division’s 14-game lead in the back row. law. There was no wild card at the time, and yet the Yankees and Red Sox found themselves in a do-or-die situation on October 2.

In the end, the Red Sox drew the short straw. Dent’s homerun in the seventh inning, two strikeouts and three runs against Mike Torrez – thrown with loaned wood from Rivers – was central to Boston’s demise. The Green Monster explosion gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead and silenced the home crowd.

“It was great,” Dent said, admitting he didn’t realize the ball was gone until the referees gave a signal. “I remember running for the house and I could hear the applause from the Yankees fans.”

The Yankees won the game 5-4. The Dent homerun inspired Red Sox manager Don Zimmer to create a non-printable nickname for Dent, giving him a new middle name for baseball fans in New England. All these retired years, Dent still considers the obscene nickname a “badge of honor.”

But he wasn’t the only Yankee in the midst of their enemies’ downfall. Reggie Jackson provided insurance with a home run, and Ron Guidry distributed six innings and a two-run third after asking to start with three days off. Rich “Goose” Gossage allowed two earned runs in two and two-thirds of innings of relief, but he held the line and caused a pop fly from Carl Yastrzemski to end the game and complete the epic Boston collapse.

Fast forward to 2021, and the Yankees are set to play another game-winning or home game at Fenway. The situation isn’t exactly the same as it was in 1978, but Dent sees the similarities and knows what the modern Yankees are for.

Dent remembers the seriousness of the match 163. The players tried to stay loose during batting practice, but an increased level of intensity could be felt as the match progressed. “It was one of the greatest games I have ever played. It was the most pressured game I have ever played in my athletic career, ”said Dent. And yet, he insisted he didn’t feel nervous in his most famous batting game.

“I wasn’t nervous. You have that adrenaline rush, and you know it’s a big time, but you just block it all out and focus on what you’re trying to do to get a base hit, ”Dent said. “I haven’t really thought about the negative things.”

Guidry, who won the American League’s Cy Young Award in 1978, reflected on the tiebreaker with similar bravado – and was sure most of his teammates would, too.

“I never got nervous,” he said bluntly. “You have to understand the characters we had on this team.”

Now Gerrit Cole is the ace of the Yankees with a Cy Young case. He will face the rubber in Boston, against Nathan Eovaldi. Cole has had mixed results against the Red Sox this year, but his performance on Tuesday will be the only one remembered.

Guidry said the current No.1 Yankees starter has to “go out there with this ‘I’m Gerrit Cole’ mentality, come get me if you want me. And then you drop the chips where they can.

“Look, either you do it or you don’t,” Guidry said when asked if he was thinking about the issues of 1978. “No. If you start to think about it, then yes, you will put the pressure on yourself. But my job was to keep the game tight. That’s all I tried to convince myself to do. You keep the game tight, someone gets a big hit, it should work. And if you don’t, then you’ve done your best. That’s all. Like I said, I either do it or I don’t. There is no in-between.

With Dent’s home run and Guidry’s left arm in the lead, this plan went as well as the Yankees could have hoped for. After defeating their rivals, the 1978 Yankees defeated the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series and the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, Dent being named the World Series MVP.

“If we hadn’t won everything, then probably all of these things that I did wouldn’t have made so much sense,” Guidry said.

The playoffs are a game of dice, and this season for the Yankees has been a relentless roller coaster. The ride could stop in Boston on Tuesday, or it could end with a parade in the Canyon of Heroes in a few weeks.

As long as it is, Guidry and Dent plan to follow. And what about the latter’s real advice? Do not lose sight of the task at hand in enemy territory.

“You just have to be locked up,” Dent said. “You have to be in the moment the whole game. Whenever you play a game like this, you can’t walk away.

“Any mistake can cost you the game. This is how our team conducted its activities.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Bucky Dent knows how the Yankees can beat the Red Sox
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