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Red Sox at Yankees Series Preview

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A look ahead to this weekend’s big series in New York.

Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

SB Nation Blog

Pinstripe Alley

The opponent in one sentence

The Yankees are a bit more inconsistent than they were earlier in the year but with that lineup and bullpen they are still the clear top challengers in the American League East.

Record

60-53 (4.5 behind Boston)

Head-to-Head Record

Red Sox 3, Yankees 6

Trend

Down. While the Red Sox have been...well, red hot lately, the Yankees have been struggling with consistency. They ended July on a nice run, but since the calendar flipped to August they’ve been in a funk and have lost six of their last nine games. Four of those games were against a good Indians team, but the other five were against Detroit and Toronto.

Pitching Matchups

8/11: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Jaime Garcia, 7:05 PM ET

The Red Sox need Rodriguez to get going soon, particularly if David Price isn’t able to come back to the rotation. The young lefty’s rust coming off the disabled list is certainly understandable, but we’re reaching the point where it’s time for him to get going again. His last outing against the White Sox was solid, but that’s obviously not much of a test. Friday night against the Yankees in New York will be a true test of where he’s at as a pitcher. If he’s able to come up big in this start, the Red Sox rotation is looking great heading to the stretch run.

Garcia has had a strange couple of weeks, as he was sent to Minnesota about a week ahead of the trade deadline then dealt to New York right at the deadline. He’s only made one start with the Yankees, and he allowed six runs (five earned) in 4 23 innings. When the lefty is at his best, he induces a ton of ground balls that helps him work around his lack of big-time strikeout stuff. He does get a little home run happy at times, though. Garcia features a four seamer and a two seamer — both in the low-90s — as well as a changeup and a slider.

8/12: Drew Pomeranz vs. Luis Severino, 4:05 PM ET

Pomeranz has clearly emerged as the second-best starter in the Red Sox rotation, and these are the types of starts in which he really needs to step up if he wants to maintain that role. He’s showed no signs of slowing down of late, and he’s working all of his pitches well in just about every one of his outings. The lefty has made two starts against the Yankees this year, allowing six runs (five earned) over 11 innings with 13 strikeouts and four walks.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Severino is the ace of the Yankees staff and is putting together a phenomenal season. His stuff is even more electric than it’s been earlier in his career and he’s been able to hone his command to a much more acceptable level in 2017. In short, the 23-year-old has clearly taken The Leap and is one of the more dangerous arms in the American League. In two starts against the Red Sox this year he’s allowed just one run over 14 innings with 12 strikeouts and four walks. Fortunately, this is a different Red Sox offense he’ll be facing this time around. Severino features a high-90s fastball to go with a slider and a changeup.

8/13: Chris Sale vs. Jordan Montgomery, 8:00 PM ET

Sunday is Sale Day, the best day of the week. This week is extra special, since it’ll be the second Sale Day of the week. His last time out was incredible as he completely shut down the Rays lineup to give Boston their seventh consecutive win. Of course, he was coming off an awful outing against Cleveland, so this bounce-back start was a bit of a relief. There was little doubt he’d be able to rebound, though. He’s done well against New York this year, allowing just three runs (two earned) over 15 23 innings with 23 strikeouts and two walks.

Montgomery is a 24-year-old lefty in his rookie season. It’s been a solid year for him, as he’s putting up good numbers across the board that make his 4.05 ERA look a bit unlucky. Part of his issue is that he’s been a little home run happy at times as a flyball pitcher in a hitter’s park. Still, there is a solid base of talent here. The Red Sox had some success against the young southpaw earlier in the year, scoring three runs off in just four innings. Montgomery has a big arsenal that includes both a four- and two-seam fastball, both in the low-90s, along with a changeup, a slider and a curveball.

Old Friends

Jacoby Ellsbury is the only old friend on the Yankees roster these days, and he’s not making many friends out in New York. He has continued to struggle as his contract looks more and more player-friendly as each day goes by, and it’s only looking worse with outfielders like Clint Frazier and Aaron Hicks emerging. At this point, it’d be a surprise if Ellsbury lasted for his entire contract. He may not even last the entire season.

Notable Hitters

Aaron Judge was obviously the biggest story in the league over the first half of the season, but he’s slowed down in a big way since the All-Star break. While he’s still walking a ton, the home runs aren’t coming nearly as frequently and he’s striking out in seemingly every other at bat. Still, the bat is obviously scary and we all know he can put a charge into any baseball that is thrown in his direction.

Gary Sanchez has been overshadowed by Judge all year, but he’s a terrifying hitter in his own right. The Yankees catcher has put up huge power numbers all year, including the second half, but he’s displayed some poor plate discipline of late that has hindered his overall production.

Brett Gardner has quietly been very good in the Yankees outfield this year, showing off surprising pop while maintaining the contact ability that has made him so solid throughout his career.

Aaron Hicks has been out since late June but returned to action Thursday night in Toronto. When he was on the field, he was stellar for the Yankees with huge power and one of the most impressive K/BB ratios in the league.

Didi Gregorius has been carrying the Yankees offense in the second half with great contact skills and surprising power. He is extremely aggressive at the plate, so he can be taken advantage of, though it’s been easier said than done of late.

Todd Frazier was the assumed Red Sox trade deadline target but ended up in New York. He’s been okay with New York thanks to extreme patience and more success on batted balls than he’s seen since 2014.

Bullpen Snapshot

Aroldis Chapman is still the closer in New York’s revamped bullpen, but he’s taken a step back in the second half. He’s only barely striking out a batter per inning and is having some big control problems. The lefty isn’t as intimidating right now as he normally is.

Dellin Betances is still very scary as he’s striking out everyone he faces and giving up a ton of weak contact. He still struggles with control at times, and patience is the key when facing the righty

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

David Robertson is one of their two big bullpen additions at the deadline, and he’s been outstanding with his new/old team. He’s still yet to walk a batter in 11 innings with the Yankees, though he has allowed a couple home runs.

Tommy Kahnle is the other big bullpen addition, and he’s done nothing to suggest that his breakout performance in Chicago was a fluke. The righty is the real deal.

Chasen Shreve is the only lefty in New York’s pen, and the southpaw has enough strikeout stuff to mask his inconsistent control.

Injuries

Clint Frazier has made a great first impression for the Yankees since coming up the majors, but he was just placed on the 10-day disabled list on Thursday with an oblique strain. It’s unclear right now how much time he’ll miss.

Michael Pineda received a huge blow in July, going down with an elbow injury and eventually undergoing Tommy John surgery. He’ll obviously miss the rest of the year, and likely most of 2018.

Starlin Castro has been out since late-July with a hamstring injury. He’s back to swinging the bat, but he’s still a little ways away from returning to the majors.

Matt Holliday has been struggling of late, and things got worse when he was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier this week with a back injury.

Greg Bird was supposed to be the primary first baseman this year but has been out all year with an ankle injury. He’s hoping to start a rehab assignment soon and possibly return before the end of the month.

Tyler Austin has been out with a hamstring injury but could be making his way back soon, possibly even in time for this series.

Weather Forecast

Friday and Sunday’s games shouldn’t be an issue getting in despite some clouds in the sky. The real issue is Saturday’s game, as there are some thunderstorms in the forecast. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see a delay or two in this game, but right now it looks like they’ll be able to get the game in.