Rivalry Renewed: Red Sox @ Yankees series preview

The Yankees will open up the second half of the season with a weekend series against their historic rivals, the Boston Red Sox. The Bronx Bombers come into play sitting at .500 with a 44-44 record. The Yanks are 2-4 against their long time foes this season with Boston sweeping the first series of the season in late April and the Yankees taking two of three from Boston in early May. This series is important for New York for not only bragging rights against Boston, but this series could make or break what the Yankees do at the deadline. GM Brian Cashman is reportedly at odds with team President Randy Levine and owner Hal Steinbrenner on whether to buy or sell at this year’s trade deadline. Buckle up for a series of four hour games; its Yankees and Red Sox live from the Bronx.

GAME ONE: (Friday July 15, 2016| 7:05 PM ET
Michael Pineda (3-8, 5.38 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (10-5, 2.68 ERA)
This one doesn’t look to promising on paper for the Yankees. Steven Wright has been the ace of the Red Sox staff and was named to this year’s All-Star team. Wright has stifled the Yankees in the past including a win in Yankee Stadium this past May. Big Mike has looked better as of late but still comes into this game with a hefty 5.38 ERA. Pineda can look downright dominant at times but against a very well balanced, talented and patient Boston lineup this matchup poses a plethora problems for Pineda.

Game Two: (Saturday July 16, 2016)| 4:05 PM ET
CC Sabathia (5-6, 3.77 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (1-3, 8.59 ERA)
The Yankees have to be beyond pleased with what they have gotten out of Sabathia this year. He can’t throw as hard as he once did, but Sabathia lives on his offspeed pitches while painting the corners like he is related to Rembrandt. On the other side the Yankees will face young southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez who has struggled immensely this year in a limited number of innings. He’s spent the bulk of the season on the DL but when he has pitched he has been ineffective. Saturday will make his first start since being recalled from AAA Pawtucket. Although he pitched well against New York last year it seems like this game is a grand opportunity for the Yankees to flex their muscle and knock the young lefty out of the game early.
Photo Credit: Adam Hunger | USA TODAY Sports
Game Three: (Sunday July 17, 2016) |8:05 PM ET
Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.23 ERA) vs. David Price (9-6, 4.34 ERA)
Sunday night ESPN baseball will have a great pitching matchup as the Yankees will throw out their Ace Masahiro Tanaka against Boston’s 217-million-dollar man David Price. Tanaka has had a really solid season for the Yankees and has been the stopper that they have needed all season long. David Price has not been the stud the Red Sox thought they were signing although he is coming off an eight inning shutout performance against Tampa Bay. In his two starts against the Yankees this year the Bronx Bombers have gotten to Price early and often. Looking at both pitchers’ performances as of late, this could be an old fashion pitchers duel where one or two runs wins the game.

Three Yankee Players to Watch
  1. Carlos Beltran: No disrespect to Didi Gregorius but Beltran has been the Yankees MVP this year. While this may be his last month in pinstripes, he certainly has done all he can to help the Yankees get back into the playoff hunt.  Beltran is going to come up big in this series because that’s what he does. When the Yankees have needed someone to step up and play the role of hero Beltran has been that guy. Nothing would make Yankee fans happier to see their 2016 hero stick it to Boston before he traded to a contending team by the deadline.
    Photo Credit: NY Post
  2. Andrew Miller: In my opinion he is the most important of the Yankees three headed monster and should be used in the highest leverage situations against Boston (especially against Boston superstar David Ortiz). Miller is arguably the best reliever in baseball as stated in an earlier article by my colleagues Chad Raines and Steven Eareckson. I tend to agree with both of them and the Yankees will have to pick the right spot to use their lethal lefty.
    Photo Credit: Mike Stobe | Getty Images
  3. Starlin Castro: Castro has been slightly above average since coming over in a trade from the Cubs. After starting April on a torrid pace, Castro has come back down to earth. However, if the Yankees are going to make a play to get into a wild card spot. He’s a dynamic player who can really help this team and it starts with this series against the Red Sox.
Three Red Sox Players to Watch
  1. David Ortiz: Public enemy number one in the eyes of all Yankees fans, the big lefty has taken advantage of Yankee Stadium’s short porch on numerous occasions much to the Bronx Bombers dismay.  Boston has a lot of players on offense that can cause damage but Ortiz always seems to be the one that hurts them the most.
    Photo Credit: Elsa | Getty Images
  2. Mookie Betts: Betts is the engine that makes Boston’s offense go. As the leadoff hitter he sets the tone for the rest of their powerful lineup. An All-Star in 2016, Betts has become a homegrown star and can beat teams with a variety of skills that he has at his capacity. The Yankees will have to keep him off the base paths if they want to have a shot at winning.
  3. Brad Ziegler: The Red Sox acquired Ziegler last week and he has only made one appearance for them but he is going to be vital to their success in late innings. Closer Craig Kimbrel and late innings specialist Junichi Tazawa are both on the DL for Boston so Ziegler and Koji Uehara will have to step up big time for the Red Sox to shut down the Yankees lineup late in these crucial ballgames.
Keys to Victory
  1. Don’t let Dellin Betances pitch in high leverage moments. As great as Betances is, he struggles against Boston. David Ortiz and Christian Vazquez both got to him earlier this year. In big moments the Yankees should turn to Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman. 
  2. Get to David Price and Steven Wright Early. Once these two settle in it will be tough to put runs on the board. Both pitchers are at there most vulnerable early on. 
    Photo Credit: Noah K. Murray | USA TODAY Sports
  3. Keep Pitch Count Down. The Red Sox are among the most patient teams in baseball, they drive pitch counts up and get starters out of the games early. The bridge to “DMC” is shaky and if the starters can’t get through six innings the Yankees will be in trouble.
Prediction:
I think the Red Sox win two out of three in this series. Game one should be an easy victory for Boston while the Yankees should pick up the W in game two. Game three to me could honestly go either way. Tanaka is a great pitcher and is more than capable of going out there and silencing Boston’s big bats. David Price looked like the David Price of old in his last start. It’s hard to imagine him losing a game of this magnitude when he’s already failed against New York twice this year. In another classic New York and Boston matchup it should be the Red Sox who come out on top this series.

Article by: Matt Cote
Follow me on Twitter: @MCote31
Follow the BBB on Twitter: @BronxBomberBlog

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