The first place 55-27 Boston Red Sox take on the second-place 52-26 New York Yankees for a three-game set in the Bronx before heading into the Nation’s Capital to take on the Washington Nationals before the 4th of July. Boston capped off the sweep of the Los Angeles Angels last night with a 4-2 victory led by homers from Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. with some stellar outfield defense and a solid job all the way around of pitching from Brian Johnson & Hector Velasquez before Craig Kimbrel shut the door in the 9th inning.
The Yankees on the other hand bounced back from being swept down in Tampa by the lowly Rays to win the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Though they were shutout in the finale, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres have been producing at the plate that led to the Yankees winning 7 of 8 before heading into The Trop.
First tonight, Eduardo Rodriguez (9-2, 3.86 ERA) matches up with veteran C.C. Sabathia (4-3, 3.18 ERA). Rodriguez has fared well against New York throughout his career and has had a few memorable outings in the Bronx. Boston will hope to get new acquisition 1B/OF Steve Pearce into the lineup with his .291 AVG and .868 OPS this season as well as his career .840 OPS versus left-handed pitching. Boston acquired him from Toronto following last night’s game along with cash considerations for minor-league (High-A) IF Santiago Espinal. Give Boston the edge with Rodriguez and the red-hot Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez swinging against C.C.
Tomorrow night, Boston sends ace Chris Sale (7-4, 256 ERA) to the hill opposed by Sonny Gray (5-5, 493 ERA). Gray has been very inconsistent this season and up and down. New York will need his best stuff to out-duel Chris Sale, and I do not foresee that happening on Saturday night in the Bronx. Sale shines and Boston takes Game 2.
Sunday Night Baseball sees David Price (9-5, 3.66 ERA) up against dominant Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10 ERA). Though Price has been locked-in of late, Severino is emerging as one of the better right-handers in baseball and is coming off seven shutout innings against the Phils. Aaron Boone bumped up the flame-thrower to pitch in the finale and it should bode well for the Yanks in the series finale with Price struggling over his career against New York.
The series edge goes to Boston with the advantage in two of three games and the production from the middle of the order of late with Martinez, Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland all locked in and producing. The acquisition of veteran slugger Steve Pearce comes at the perfect time.
It’s going to be one heck of a series and it’s great to see these two giants duking it out for the right to be called the best. Rivalry, baby.