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Red Sox vs. Yankees Game 2 lineup: David Price faces his demons

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The Yankees have owned Price this year. Does it end tonight?

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
Face your fears!
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox, fresh off a thrilling and nerve-wracking Game 1 win against the irrepressible Yankees, will turn to the most Bronx-bitten member of their staff when David Price (16-7, 3.58 ERA) looks to overcome his demons and pitch Boston to a 2-0 series lead tonight at Fenway Park (8:15 p.m., TBS).

About Game 2: Price has been absolutely murdered by the Yankees this year, and there’s no way around that. Over 15 innings against the Bombers this year, he has an unsightly 10.43 ERA. On the bright side, the worst of it came in Yankee Stadium, where his ERA was 12.46, but given that those innings account for just more than half of the total, the Fenway ones aren’t exactly great, either. If that snap is bound to end eventually, and it probably is, there would be no better time than tonight.

Of course the Price of the first half and Price of the second half are, metaphorically speaking, entirely different animals. Before the break, Price was not good. He had a 4.42 ERA, but it was mostly just a sideshow to the historic season the Sox were having. By the time the season ended, Price was the team’s headliner on the mound, as his 2.25 ERA in the second half made him the team’s most dangerous arm on the team by far. Something has to give tonight, and, for the much-maligned lefty, Game 2 could provide the definitive turning point in his career in Boston.

The Yankees will counter with Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.75 ERA), whose aggregate numbers are effectively the same as Price’s and whose struggles within the rivalry this season are also very real. His 7.58 ERA in the rivalry this year looks great compared to Price’s and ghastly in any other context. Last season he was quite good against the Sox, but this year’s offense and last year’s are different animals. Taming them is a tall order, and Tanaka will have his hands full tonight.

As for the lineup, the top half is what you’d expect against the righty, with J.D. Martinez hitting third, Xander Bogaerts fourth and Mitch Moreland at first and batting fifth. The rest of the lineup is unchanged from yesterday, which is surprising, in that Alex Cora has opted to keep the lefty-hitting Brock Holt and Rafael Devers on the bench in favor of Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Núñez, and stuck with Sandy León, last night’s supporting hero, over Blake Swihart. The lesson is clear: Defense rules until more offense is needed.

The big change for Yankees is in center, where the injured Aaron Hicks is replaced by Brett Gardner, who bats ninth. Everyone else from yesterday is back again, with the white-hot hitting Luke Voit jumping to the third spot in the order. Saddle up.

About Game 1: The bullpen held on. Barely. But it counts, and the Sox outlasted the Yankees 5-4 in a taut, elaborate affair that was altogether fitting for these playoffs.

Forecast: 60 degrees at game time with a very low chance of rain despite gray skies.

Today’s reading: Matt digs into last night’s bag full of good and bad.

A good tweet:

LINEUPS

ALDS Game 2 vs. Yankees

Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
Lineup spot Yankees Red Sox
1 Andrew McCutchen, LF Mookie Betts, RF
2 Aaron Judge, RF Andrew Benintendi, LF
3 Luke Voit, 1B J.D. Martinez, DH
4 Giancarlo Stanton, DH Xander Bogaerts, SS
5 Gary Sánchez, C Mitch Moreland, 1B
6 Didi Gregorius, SS Eduardo Núñez, 3B
7 Miguel Andújar, 3B Ian Kinsler, 2B
8 Gleyber Torres, 2B Sandy León, C
9 Brett Gardner, CF Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
SP Masahiro Tanaka, RHP David Price, LHP