The headline isn't catchy. The headline probably won't live in Google's algorithm for very long. These men's names might be forgotten to Yankees history in two weeks, or perhaps by Thursday.
But on Tuesday, in a relatively meaningless game at a low point of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, with only a minute Boston chance of earning a Wild Card still at stake, three men who'd fought their way through years of Hell to get to Scranton to get to Boston combined for three shutout innings in a 2-1 game through the sixth, seventh and eighth in a nearly-four-hour nightcap at a batters' bandbox.
For the save, after a little bit of insurance? Relatively "experienced" 2023 Yankee Nick Ramirez. He plowed through Justin Turner and Triston Casas after getting a generous call on Wilyer Abreu to begin the frame. Because of course he did. Because this Yankees team, which began the day 1-8 against the 2023 Red Sox, routinely embarrassed in the process of losing repeatedly, swept a doubleheader thanks to three minor-league lifers approaching their mid-to-late 30s.
McAllister came first in an appearance so heartfelt and random that it almost obscured the fact that Carlos Rodón allowed a homer and a double to the first two batters he faced, then rebounded to secure the win and whiff nine. That Ceddanne Rafaela home run, which came on the first pitch of the bottom of the first inning, represented the Red Sox only run.
McAllister, now 35 and a well-traveled ex-Cleveland right-hander, was a Yankees draft pick first, selected alongside Ian Kennedy and Joba Chamberlain in the third round in 2006. He was traded for Austin Kearns. 17 years later, he made his first appearance with the big-league Yankees -- now a sidearmer, completely different than the man who signed his initial pro contract -- and fielded a (downright evil) bunt for Out No. 1 with a wild, multi-bounce throw. He escaped the sixth scoreless, eliciting wild cheers at his former home.
Yankees relievers Zach McAllister, Anthony Misiewicz, Matt Bowman, Nick Ramirez save Carlos Rodón's game
To make things even more improbable, McAllister put the leadoff runner on second in the seventh (Rafaela doubled). So did Matt Bowman in the eighth. In the first instance, Misiewicz eventually whiffed Adam Duvall (who K'd four times) to end the frame screaming. The second time around, Bowman peppered the bottom of the zone with 94 MPH moving heat, getting Rafaela to line out up the middle.
Why did Alex Cora burn Rafael Devers in an obvious intentional walk situation? Not sure. Why did any of this happen?
Did the Yankees make mistakes in this game? Of course they did. It's 2023. IKF forgot to slide back into second and was doubled off. The team loaded the bases with nobody out in the first and left them there. Austin Wells doubled back to second on a dribbler to third and was forced out by a Luis Urias sprawl. Luis Rojas sent IKF home from third on a hard-hit ground ball single to left, and he was out by 15 feet. Gleyber Torres dropped a seed from Wells to allow a stolen base that never should've existed.
But, in the end, this was about Rodón's best start of his Yankees career. And it was about four men who could be gone tomorrow coming together to reverse the course of a rivalry that had teetered off its axles this season. Not only was Boston 8-1 against New York in 2023 earlier on Tuesday, but they'd embarrassed the Yankees. They'd pummeled them. They'd clogged the bases endlessly against the complete set of projected Yankees starters, from Gerrit Cole to Jhony Brito. Rafael Devers' ownership was undisputed.
And now? Four people you couldn't pick out of the Pizzeria Regina line just stunned a Boston team with three against Texas and three against Toronto still ahead of them. You may go 8-1 against the 2023 Yankees. But don't you dare try to beat the 2023 Scranton RailRiders.