Series Preview: New York Yankees vs Boston Red Sox (5/30-6/2)

The Rivalry is back on in the Bronx, as the Red Sox come to town to take on the Yankees in a four-game set. The Bombers shut down the San Diego Padres Wednesday en route to their eighth consecutive series win, and they’ll look to ride that momentum into a very important series this weekend. While the Rays enter the day just a game out of first place in the AL East, they have a three-game set with the MLB-best Minnesota Twins on tap - it’s crucial the Yanks put away the Sox and begin to pull away from a surging Tampa team.

The defending champions have not had it easy to start the year. They enter play just a game over .500, already 7.5 games back in the division race. Last month the Yankees swept a quick two-game set against the Sox - if the bats can take advantage of an unstable pitching staff (16th ranked 4.43 team ERA), they shouldn’t have an issue putting away their bitter rivals yet again.
Photo Credit: FOX
Game One, 7:05 PM EST, J.A. Happ (4-3, 5.09 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (1-6, 4.19 ERA)

Happ takes the mound in the series opener, searching for that bit of consistency he has yet to find this season. He’s looking to build on his most recent outing, in which he fired six innings of three-run ball en route to a win over the Royals. The positive: Red Sox hitters enter with a combined .216 BA against Happ, a number that falls to the Mendoza line when you eliminate Steve Pearce’s 11-for-35.

Alex Cora will hand the ball to his ace to kick off the set. One of the game’s premier starters, Sale has regained his form following some early season struggles, pitching to a 2.23 ERA over his last five outings. The southpaw has quite the reputation of carving through the Yanks’ lineup (.213 BAA, .580 OPS), and Aaron Boone will be pressed to find a solution to prevent him from doing so again.

Game Two, 7:05 PM EST, Domingo German (9-1, 3.43 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3, 5.04 ERA)

German will look to rebound from his worst outing of the season thus far (7 ER) when he toes the rubber on Friday. The Yanks’ arbitrary ace is beginning to draw attention from around the league while pitching at a Cy Young caliber, and he’ll be put to the test in facing one of baseball’s most complete lineups. The 26-year-old has not lost a game since April 18, and the Yankees hope he can keep the momentum rolling and continue that stretch.

E-Rod, on the other hand, is coming off one of his better starts of the season, in which he held a potent Astros’ lineup to just one run over six innings. It’s been an up-and-down year for Rodriguez, evidenced by the five quality starts already under his belt while still sporting an ERA north of five. Let it be known that six current Yankees have taken Rodriguez deep in the past - watch out for the long ball in Friday’s contest.

Game Three, 7:15 PM EST, TBD vs. Rick Porcello (4-4, 4.41 ERA)

The likely scenario here is the Yankees turning to an opener. Chad Green would almost certainly get the nod, with David Hale or Nestor Cortes Jr. to follow. Green struck out the side working the first inning of Monday’s game, and the Bombers are now 3-0 in games where he is deployed as an opener.

Porcello’s April was up there with some of the worst in MLB, but he as well has rebounded nicely. The 2016 AL Cy Young was victorious against Cleveland on Monday, allowing three runs across 6 ⅔  frames. Porcello has been a workhorse for Boston this season, as he leads the club in innings pitched and has thrown over 100 pitches in four of his 11 starts.

Game Four, 7:05 PM EST, CC Sabathia (3-1, 3.48 ERA) vs. David Price (2-2, 2.83 ERA)

Sabathia will be activated from the injured list to make the start in the series finale. The veteran left-hander went down on May 23 with right knee inflammation, but was never expected to be out any longer than the 10-day minimum and now returns to action in just that. With a win on Sunday, CC would become just the 48th pitcher in MLB history to reach 250.

On the hill for Boston will be the 5-time All Star David Price. Price has not allowed an earned run in his last 11.2 innings; his struggles against the Yankees, however, are well documented. Current Yankees carry a combined .283/.350/.506 slash against Price - Luke Voit has two home runs in five at-bats, while Gary Sanchez is batting .461 with five homers and 11 RBI, good for a 2.204 OPS.

Article by Christian DeMoro

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