Series Preview: New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox (4/10 - 4/13)
After a dismal series with the Orioles in the Bronx, where the Yankees dropped three out of four (two of which in heartbreaking fashion), they now travel north to take on the division rival Red Sox. The Red Sox are as hot as any team right now, sporting a franchise best 8-1 record, so it will be a battle for the Yankees who are looking for a bounce back series. With all the division hype between the two team, the major free-agent signings this winter, and front-line rotational matchup, this series between the two has the feeling of an October classic.
Game 1: Tuesday, April 10th | First Pitch: 7:10 pm
Luis Severino (2-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (0-0, 0.82 ERA)
Even though the season is still just starting off, this matchup may be one of the best of the year, with two perennial aces of the staff facing off against one another.
Luis Severino has picked up right where he left off thus far in his 2018 campaign. The 24-year-old has only given up six hits over 13 innings and struck out 14, and seems to be hungry to be in the Cy-Young talk. He had some hiccups last year against the Red Sox, mainly one Andrew Benintendi, who took him deep twice in one game for a total of six RBIs, but overall did very well against the Sox. He was dominant in Fenway too, only allowing one run in 14 innings. With the bullpen pretty spent after the marathon series against the Orioles, it will be key for Severino to go deep into the game to rest the bullpen arms as well as help his team get back on the right track.
Chris Sale may not have a win yet in 2018, but he sure has deserved at least one. Sale, much to the surprise of no one, has continued his dominance on the mound, pitching to a sub one ERA, and already racking up 15 strikeouts. All this being said, Sale did struggle last year against the Yankees, only managing to win once against the club, so it will be interesting to see how he fares in 2018.
Game 2: Wednesday, April 11th | First Pitch: 7:10 pm
Masahiro Tanka (1-1 , 2.92 ERA) vs. David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
After a stellar opening start for Tanaka, he ran into some bad luck against the Orioles. He looked to be cruising late into the game, but made a couple mistakes that ultimately handed him the loss. Tanaka was very up and down against the Red Sox last year, as was most of his 2017. He has pitched some absolute gems against the team, but has also had less than memorable starts against them as well. From what we’ve seen so far in 2018, Tanaka looks to be back to his normal form, so we may be in store for another gem.
David Price has come out with a vengeance this season. After a frustrating 2017 season which saw him on the DL for a good portion of it, he has shown flashes of his ace-like stuff early on. He has only given up seven hits in 14 innings. It will be interesting to see if the 2018 David Price can shake his history of struggles against the Yankees. Price owns an 8+ ERA against the Yankees, with a 1-4 record since coming to Boston. He may also be hoping that Gary Sanchez is not in the lineup, the man who has taken him deep four times in his young career.
Game 3: Thursday, April 12th | First Pitch : 7:10 pm
TBD vs. Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84 ERA)
The injury bug has been out early and often for the Yankees, sending four players to the DL, including the probable starter for this game, CC Sabathia. CC left his last start Friday with hip soreness, which luckily was just that, soreness. He still landed on the DL as a precautionary move, but that still leaves a hole in the rotation. For the moment, there is no word on who will be starting or if the Yankees go to a four-man rotation in his absence, but there are some possibilities:
One potential option could be Luis Cessa, who was just brought back up from the minors. Cessa saw some work last year as a starter going 0-3 with a 4.75 ERA. He has been very serviceable in his time up in the majors, but has not really lived up to his true potential for the time being.
Another option for the Yankees could be Domingo German. German was brought up along with Cessa after the Yankees went 14 innings with the Orioles. He looked very good in his first appearance of the year Sunday, until he stumbled in his second inning of work, coughing up a home run to Anthony Santander that gave the Orioles the lead. German has been used as a long reliever as well as a starter in his minor league career, so he could easily be slotted in for Sabathia.
The final option would be to move Sonny Gray up one spot in the rotation. Gray has looked just okay in his first two starts of the season. He has not gone deep into games, had a high pitch count and has put a lot of men on base, all of which were issues for him last year. It is still very early in the season, but Gray needs to improve on these things if he wants to have success in 2018.
Rick Procello had a 2017 to forget, going from Cy-Young winner to an almost 20 game loser. He seems to have bounced back some this year, sporting a respectable 2.84 ERA to go along with 11 strike outs. Porcello had a tough time with the Yankees last year, going 1-3 against them and giving up 13 runs (9 earned).
Players to Watch: Yankees
Coming off what he described as “a bad week”, where he had two five strikeout games, and because of the talk of Stanton vs JD Martinez, Giancarlo will be under a microscope this week. While his numbers are not all that far off from his past Aprils, the lights shine a bit brighter in New York and the fans/media are not as forgiving. He has looked a little lost at the plate in the two homes series thus far, but a guy of Stanton’s caliber who just won a MVP award can definitely turn it around. If he can do it in Boston it would be a huge help to the team looking to gain some ground on the division rivals.
Another guy who has gotten off to a slow start, Sanchez is hitting .063 with only two hits so far this season. He also came out of the 14-inning affair Friday with a calf cramp, but all signs are pointing to him being in the lineup for this series. If there is anything to help a guy break his slump, it would be pitching he feasts off of, and Gary will see his old pal David Price in the second game of this series. Even with Gary starting slow at the plate, he has been fantastic behind the plate and shown great strides in making himself a more complete catcher.
The hottest hitter on the Yankees right now, Didi has shown why he is one of the best in the AL at his position. With consistency being key in the game of baseball, it will be crucial for Didi to keep up his hot start going up against some very tough pitching in Boston. With the three headed monster of Judge, Stanton and Sanchez starting off colder than most thought, the Yankees will rely on the hot bat of Didi to help spark the production.
Player to Watch: Red Sox
Brock Holt/Eduardo Nunez
Holt filled in on Sunday after Xander Bogaerts left the game with an ankle injury, and now that we know Bogaerts has landed on the DL with a cracked bone in his ankle, there is a big hole to fill. While Holt did fill in Sunday, it will be interesting to see if he remains at shortstop, or if the more experienced Eduardo Nunez fills in long term. Either way, one of the two have big shoes to fill as Bogaerts was off to a scorching start, hitting .368 with a 1.111 OPS.
Ramirez has been off to a good start this year, after an underwhelming one last year. He is currently hitting .324 with a home run and eight RBIs. This production has been a key to their success, and will need to be going forwards with Bogaerts out for the foreseeable future. He is no stranger to the rivalry, and will be a major factor if they want to continue their win streak.
A name that has been cemented in the rivalry, after his infamous home run off Aroldis Chapman, Devers has continued to produce for the Red Sox. He is off to a great start, hitting .323 with a homer and nine RBIs. If it is a close game and he is up at the plate, Yanks fans will be hoping there is no déjà vu.
A disappointing start to the season has left a sour taste in the mouths of Yankees fans. While it is easy to get carried away and panic, the season still has 152 games left. This series has some great matchups on both sides, but the Yankees pitching can put them in position to take a couple of games on the road. If the Yankees bats start to wake up to go alongside the dominant arms, it could be trouble for the Red Sox.
Article by: AJ WelchFollow @AJerzy Follow @BronxBomberBall