For those who love Rivalry Week, it’s coming to an end. For those who hate Rivalry Week, it’s coming to an end! The Yankees head north to Boston to take on the Red Sox and hopefully get some revenge. They have a tough task ahead of them, but coming off a four-game sweep of the Mets must have them feeling good about themselves.
It was just last weekend that the Yankees lost two of three to the Red Sox. After an exciting comeback on Friday, a rare 2017 rough outing from Luis Severino, and an all-too-common 2017 miserable outing from Aroldis Chapman gave Boston the series victory. Bad news for the Red Sox though is that two of the Yankees’ most important bats might just be coming around.
I think it’s official. Gary Sanchez hates August. Some may say he loves it, but for him to go on this sort of rampage, I think he hates it. Whichever may be the case, one thing is true: the Kraken has been unleashed. He’s slashing .319/.404/.702 with five home runs on the month. Hopefully he can keep it going against the Red Sox and help the Bombers gain some ground in the standings. He might need some help though.
While August hasn’t been as kind to Aaron Judge as it has been to Sanchez, he could be ready to finally break out. Sure this is something that’s constantly been said since the All-Star break without any results. For the first time, though, we’re seeing some actual good signs.
Despite a three strikeout game last night, Judge did hit home runs in back-to-back games — including one that might not have landed yet. He also had his first multi-hit game since July on Wednesday. If he can put it together and combine that with Sanchez’s hot streak, watch out.
While reinforcements are on the way, for now the offense runs through those two. Even though players like Didi Gregorius have put the team on their back, and others have stepped up, a hot Sanchez and Judge will go along way in Boston. If the offense can do its job, the Yankees just need to hope their pitching won’t let them down this weekend.
Game One: Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 3.94 ERA) vs. Drew Pomeranz (12-4, 3.39 ERA)
Jordan Montgomery will be making his second start since returning to replace the injured CC Sabathia. Montgomery faced the Red Sox last Sunday and held them to just one run in 5.1 innings. He still has an issue with length and an innings limit looms, but having a rested bullpen behind him will help. Despite not going deep into his outings, one thing Montgomery has done consistently is keep the Yankees in games. Look for more of the same from him.
Drew Pomeranz will get the ball for the Red Sox. Pomeranz is coming off a one-run, six-inning effort against the Orioles. Pomeranz has faced the Yankees three times this year. While the first time out he held the Yankees to two runs (one earned), he’s actually given up seven runs combined in his previous two outings against the Bombers. If the bats are hot, the Yankees should be able to get some runs off of him.
Game Two: CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51 ERA)
Speaking of the injured CC Sabathia, the injured CC Sabathia will be making his return on Saturday. Sabathia left his last start in Toronto early after giving up four runs in just three innings. Tests showed no new damage in his knee which is why he’s returning on the first day he’s eligible. If the knee brace can hold up, maybe he can continue the success he’s had against the Red Sox this year. In two starts against them, he’s yet to allow a run in a combined 14 innings. Praise be!
Sabathia will have to be that good as he’ll be going up against Chris Sale. Sale is the obvious front-runner for the AL Cy Young and a MVP candidate for some. His last start was Sunday against the Yankees when he allowed just one run in seven innings. Not all hope is lost though. Despite pitching really well in all three of his starts against the Yankees, the Bombers actually won two of those games and it would’ve been a sweep if not for Chapman.
Game Three: Sonny Gray (7-7, 3.37 ERA) vs. TBD
Brian Cashman’s top prize from the trade deadline will get his first chance to pitch against the Yankees’ biggest rivals.* Despite what some might say, Sonny Gray has pitched extremely well since being acquired from the Athletics. His last start against the Mets was brilliant as he went six innings and only allowed two runs. Gray faced Boston back in May, while still pitching for Oakland, when he allowed three runs in six innings. He hasn’t faced them since then though, so now they won’t know what’s coming! That’s how this works, right?
It’s too soon to judge TBD’s season so far. There really isn’t enough data on his year to make a fair decision on how he’s pitched. I’m not even sure if he’s going to pitch, and if he does it’ll either be a good start or a bad start. Who knows? It’s unknown for now. To be determined, some might say. (Doug Fister will likely get the start but it hasn’t been announced yet. He’s been bad this year and that’s all we really need to know about him.)
The Yankees will go into this series only four games behind the division leaders. It won’t be an easy task, but the Red Sox aren’t the juggernaut that some people think they are. The Yankees also aren’t the lost cause some people think they are. It should be a fun weekend, and the Bombers absolutely have a chance to make some noise. The offense is clicking and the bullpen is loaded. Let’s just keep Chapman out of this series.
*Author’s note: David Robertson was the real top prize from the deadline and that is 100% fact in my absolute biased opinion.
**Season statistics provided courtesy of Baseball Reference and FanGraphs.