The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry ratcheted up again on Thursday night.
The Yankees won the game 6–2 behind a strong pitching performance from CC Sabathia but Sabathia became incensed in the first inning when former his Yankees teammate Eduardo Nunez bunted and reached on a throwing error by Sabathia.
Sabathia, 37, was on the disabled list in mid-August with inflammation in his surgically repaired right knee. (The Sox also bunted against Sabathia two weeks earlier in Boston, in his first start since coming off the disabled list.)
As he walked off the mound after the first inning, Sabathia cursed in the direction of the Boston dugout. After the game, Sabathia called the bunt “weak” and suggested the Red Sox were “scared” to swing the bat against him.
“I think they think I’m a bigger guy and I can’t field my position,” Sabathia told reporters. “I’m an old man, so they should go out and want to kick my butt. I just feel like they tried to take the weak road.”
Hall of Fame Red Sox outfielder Jim Rice didn’t find Boston’s bunting against a hobbled pitcher to be dirty, though. Rice, now an analyst for the team’s TV network, blast Sabathia on the postgame show and all but called him fat.
“What is he talking about? Bunting is part of the game,” Rice said. “You try to get on the base any way you can. If you tell him to leave some of that chicken, that donut and that burger weight, maybe his leg will be OK that he can field that baseball. That’s just stupid.”
This weekend’s series in the Bronx is the last time the Yankees face the Red Sox this season, unless they end up meeting in the playoffs, so the controversy over bunting against Sabathia should blow over. Expect the animosity to linger over the rest of the series, though.