SB Nation Blog
The opponent in one sentence
The Yankees still are not where most expected them to be around the halfway point of the season, but they are getting closer and very much hanging around the race.
Red Sox 3, Yankees 0
Up. Things are still not perfect in Yankee land, but they are making their way back up the standing with wins in their last three series, including one against the Athletics and a sweep of the Blue Jays. Overall, New York has won seven of their last nine games.
6/25: Martín Pérez vs. Domingo Germán, 7:10 PM ET
After being such a huge piece of this Red Sox rotation for the first couple of months this season and arguably being the biggest surprise, Pérez seemed to come back in a hurry in June with two straight outings in which he failed to make it more than two innings while allowing at least five runs. The last time out, however, he was able to bounce back in a big way. The lefty allowed just one run his last time out against the Royals while making it through five innings. Now he’ll have a real test to see whether he’s passed those struggles, as he’s facing a lineup with a whole lot of right-handed power. On paper this is a nightmare matchup, but Pérez has been surprising all season. This is the perfect time to do it yet again.
Germán missed a whole lot of time over the last two years after being accused of domestic abuse against his girlfriend, and suspended after an MLB investigation, in 2019. He’s back now, to the chagrin of a whole lot of Yankee fans, and he’s putting together a solid season. The righty will throw a lot of strikes so the Red Sox should be ready to swing for this game, but he can leave some mistakes over the heart of the plate. This feels like a game where the Red Sox are going to need a lot from their core, and they should get at least a few pitches to really do damage. They struggled a bit in their first matchup against him this year, scoring just one run over 5 2⁄3 innings. Germán will lean heavily on his curveball while also featuring a pair of fastballs that sit around 93 mph and a changeup.
6/26: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Jordan Montgomery, 7:15 PM ET
Eovaldi has emerged as the de facto ace of this rotation, and given the way many of these starters are looking it’s not a very high bar to clear. And for Eovaldi specifically, while he’s been very good fairly often, the consistency isn’t at the level the Red Sox would prefer, with a few mediocre starts sprinkled in every few turns through the rotation. That includes his last time out when he allowed four runs (three earned) over the course of four innings. The good news is he should have a little bit of confidence heading into this one as he already pitched well against New York this year, allowing two runs (one earned) over six innings in the Bronx.
Montgomery doesn’t have the most impressive stuff in this Yankees rotation, and he entered 2021 coming off two poor seasons, albeit with limited innings due to injuries and last year’s schedule. But this season he has been solid with roughly league-average results and even better peripherals. There’s not one thing about his game that stands out, but instead he is solid across the board. This will be the first time the Red Sox see him this season, and as a lefty who leans on secondaries he is the kind of pitcher against whom they typically struggle. Montgomery will most often throw his curveball and changeup, while also mixing in a pair of fastballs and a cutter.
6/27: Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Gerrit Cole, 1:10 PM ET
What else is there to say about the kind of season Rodriguez is having that we haven’t already said? It’s one of those things that is so frustrating to try and break down because it still seems like it shouldn’t be happening even though it’s been long enough that it’s hard to attribute to just bad luck or anything like that. He’s still missing bats and limiting free passes at a solid rate, but opponents just keep getting hits. The lefty is coming off a quality start his last time out, and he allowed just three runs over 5 1⁄3 against the Yankees earlier this month, so maybe this is the situation he needs to really turn things around for a big second half.
When the Red Sox swept the Yankees earlier in June, they were fortunate enough to miss Cole for those three games. They won’t be as lucky this time around. The Yankees ace is probably the best non-Jacob deGrom pitcher in the world, and he’s rolling right now. On the season, he has a 2.33 ERA with elite stuff and control. He’s also remarkably consistent, having allowed two or fewer earned runs in all but two of his 15 starts this season. The Red Sox will have their hands full, is what I’m saying. Cole will feature a high-90s fastball with a changeup, a curveball and a slider.
Notable Position Players
Aaron Judge remains the best player on this Yankees team, and he is once again leading this lineup with a strong season. Everyone knows he will strikeout a bit more than you’d like, but he more than makes up for it with everything else, including elite patience to go with the mammoth power.
DJ LeMahieu hasn’t really been the same guy this season for the Yankees after re-signing this past winter. He’s still controlling the strike zone very well, but the power just hasn’t been there to the extent the Yankees would like.
Gary Sánchez got off to a horrible start, leading to some questions about whether or not he’d be the long-term answer for New York behind the plate. More recently, he’s been hitting the cover off the ball to the tune of a 191 wRC+ in June.
Giancarlo Stanton is another one of these big right-handed power bats, who is basically the same hitter as Judge (though I’d rather have the latter), albeit without the defense.
Luke Voit has missed almost this entire season with a couple different injuries, but he’s back now to provide yet another right-handed power bat.
Gleyber Torres has been a massive disappointment for New York this year, totally lacking the quality of contact they’ve come to expect from the young infielder.
Gio Urshela isn’t quite playing up to the high standards he’s set for himself at times the last few years, but he’s still been solidly above average in the bottom half of this lineup.
Clint Frazier is supposed to be a big power bat to make up for his swing-and-miss, but the strikeouts are overpowering everything else so far this year.
Brett Gardner isn’t playing quite as much these days, and his 75 wRC+ tells us why. That said, he does still play in center field at least half the time.
Aroldis Chapman is having another very good season in the ninth inning for the Yankees, though he’s been going through a rough stretch of late. His command has taken a hit in the month of June, and it’s come in the form of both homers and walks.
Zack Britton has just recently rejoined the Yankees bullpen, and while his stuff isn’t what it used to be he can still get a ton of ground balls.
Chad Green will miss a decent number of bats and throw strikes, but hitters need to be ready for mistakes because he’ll make a few here and there.
Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery around the time Chris Sale did, and he started a rehab assignment before being shut down again with a groin injury. The Yankees are expecting him back in the second half.
Corey Kluber went down at the end of May with a shoulder issue, and it’s still not really clear when, or if, the Yankees expect him back this year.
Aaron Hicks had to undergo wrist surgery this year and will likely miss the entire season.
Darren O’Day has been out of the Yankees bullpen since late April with a shoulder injury, but he shouldn’t be too far off from a return.
Justin Wilson hurt his hamstring in May, but like O’Day he’s working his way back relatively soon to the Yankees pen.
Clarke Schmidt is working his way back from an elbow injury, and while he’s ramping back up he’s still a little ways away.
There’s a little rain in Boston here on Friday, but that should clear before the game and the rest of the series should be dry as well.