The Boston Red Sox enter play on Tuesday tied for the best record in baseball at 8-1, cleaning up on the early portion of their schedule after blowing the lead on Opening Day and now are set for a massive weekday April series with arch-rival New York Yankees who enter play at 5-5. Two first-year skippers get their first chance at making an impression with their respective fan-base in an early match up of the new look rivalry between these long time foes.
Giancarlo Stanton makes his first trip to Fenway wearing pinstripes and after opening day where he clobbered a pair of homers, has received a ton of criticism with 19 K’s in his last 9 games hitting just .108 with 1 HR and 3 RBI’s including a pair of 5-strikeout games. That means one of two things this series, either he’s going to catch fire and start smashing homer-after-homer over the monster, or stay ice cold and the Boston pitchers will rack up the K’s.
Boston’s slugger J.D. Martinez has begun to heat up in recent games belting his first homer with Boston on Saturday in the rout of the Rays, and he should continue through the homestand with New York then Baltimore this weekend. The Sox will be without shortstop Xander Bogaerts who suffered a small crack in the talus bone in his left ankle that puts him out of action for the next few weeks at least.
Tuesday: First Pitch 7:10 PM ET. Chris Sale (0-0, 0.82 ERA) takes the mound for Boston in his third start of the season. Sale is 4-4 lifetime against the Yankees through his first 12 career starts, but has a 1.81 ERA in those matchups with New York hitting just .193 against him. Like the start of this year, Sale has pitched well, but with no help from his offense. Sale and the Red Sox are hoping their fortune changes tonight against the Yankees. Luis Severino (2-0, 1.38 ERA) who starts for New York, has began this year with a bang and owned the Red Sox in two Fenway starts last season allowing just one run in 14 innings of work.
Wednesday: First Pitch 7:10 PM ET. David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA) gets the nod for Boston on Wednesday night and has yet to allow a run through his first two 2018 starts over 14 innings of work with 10 K’s. Price is 15-11 with a 4.36 ERA in his career versus New York over 37 starts and will be tested by the right-handed heavy Yankee lineup. Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 2.92 ERA) pitches for the Yanks on Wednesday in a place where he has had success in recent memory posting a 1.78 ERA over his last four Fenway starts in 30 1/3 innings of work.
Thursday: First Pitch 7:10 PM ET. Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84 ERA) takes the mound for Boston on Thursday coming off another strong outing against Tampa Bay where he picked up the victory and pitched deep into the game. In 18 career starts against the Yankees, Porcello is 8-8 with a 3.27 ERA. Sonny Gray (1-0, 3.60 ERA) is expected to take the hill for New York on Thursday rounding out the three day match up where each team will throw their three best guys in an attempt to make the first headway in capturing the division title.
It all starts tonight. Alex Cora and Aaron Boone each get their first chance to win their first series over their rival, who will gain the upper hand?
Follow along on Twitter for my in-game conversation during the three-game set with New York: @FranBostonTank