After trouncing the Atlanta Braves in their three-game sweep, the Yankees have a chance to take advantage of a bad Red Sox team in order to keep pace with the surging Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, Boston might be able to put up more of a fight than was originally expect as their offense seems to be starting to finally click and their pitching has been just bad instead of terribad-dumpster-fire, like it has been all year. It might not be as easy as it was over the weekend and the Sox are going to be looking to play spoiler.
Yankees pitching will have to deal with a Jackie Bradley Jr., who has suddenly turned into a useful player with a .329/.409/.711 batting line in the month of August. David Ortiz, Rusney Castillo, Mookie Betts, and Travis Shaw are also all hitting over .300 for the month of August. Meanwhile, New York will miss the resurgent Joe Kelly, who now has a 2.68 ERA and 3.64 FIP in his last six starts. It's a lot better than how they were doing the last time these two teams met.
Tonight, Ivan Nova will take on Eduardo Rodriguez, one of the many "aces" the media has credited them with that has actually been pretty bad. Though Nova needs to get things back on track after back-to-back clunkers last month. He needs to get back to keeping the ball down and at least keep the Yankees in the game. The rest of the series will see Michael Pineda against Rick Porcello and Masahiro Tanaka vs. Henry Owens. The Yankees offense should have nothing to fear this weekend, but the pitching needs to hold up.
Here is tonight's lineup:
Tonight's lineup: Ellsbury 8 young 7 Rodriguez dh Beltran 9 McCann 2 Headley 5 Bird 3 Gregorius 6 Ryan 4 Nova rhp— wallace matthews (@ESPNNYYankees) August 31, 2015
It's good to see Alex Rodriguez back in the lineup now that we're done with National League baseball, but he needs to pick things back up after his month-long slump. If Jacoby Ellsbury continues on his current tear, that alone could be enough to give the team that extra boost for the road trip. Also, I understand that Chris Young is here to hit left-handed pitching, but he had five hits in the month of August and I'd rather see the superior defender Brett Gardner, who has also struggled, try his hand tonight with Carlos Beltran in right field. Mark Teixeira has been sent back to New York for more tests and will not be available for the series. After appearing as a pinch hitter over the weekend, it looks like things were going well, but now who knows how long he could be out for. Hopefully it's not something more serious than was previously expected. Either way, Greg Bird will have to get the job done.
With September call-ups only a day away, it will be nice to get some reenforcement in the bullpen and on the field. After playing a man down for so long, the Yankees could use some pinch hitters and runners and maybe Rob Refsnyder will finally get some playing time over Brendan Ryan. Hey look, Refsnyder might get called up to face the team he made his major league debut against that one time. Neat!
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