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Yankees vs. Red Sox: Series Preview

The Bombers look to gain ground in a tight AL East race

MLB: Game Two-Cleveland Indians at New York Yankees Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees and Red Sox will play their final series of the year in four-game set in the Bronx this weekend. The Yankees have had a tough week. They were just swept by Cleveland, and their offense continues to be feast or famine. On the other hand, this series could ultimately decide the winner of the AL East, so maybe the added pressure lights a fire under the Bombers.

The Yankees and Red Sox faced off in Boston just two weeks ago, and it was a frustrating series to say the least. The Yankees dropped the first and third games of the series. They blew a seventh inning lead in game one and lost 5-1 in the third game, which felt like a blowout, despite just a four-run margin of victory. The only bright spot of the series was beating Chris Sale for the second time of the year in game two. Hopefully, we see more of that Yankees’ squad this weekend.

Here are your matchups:

Game One: CC Sabathia vs. Eduardo Rodriguez

CC gets the ball in the opener. This will be his third start since coming off the 10-Day DL two weeks ago. In his first two starts, he pitched brilliantly. In his first game back, he held the Red Sox to just two runs in six innings, good enough to beat Chris Sale in Boston. In his second game back, CC took a no-decision against the Mariners, but pitched well enough to win. He went seven innings, surrendering just one run, and striking out six.

The Yankees will face off against Eduardo Rodriguez in the first game. Rodriguez is just 24, but it feels like he’s been around forever. He’s been having a slightly above average season. His ERA+ currently sits at 108, but he’s been well-below average his last three starts. In his last 17 23 innings, he’s allowed 11 earned runs, good for a 5.60 ERA in that span. The last good outing he had was, coincidentally, against the Yankees back on August 11th. He shut out the Yankees in his six innings pitched, but a five-run eighth inning gave the Yankees the win in that game.

The first game of the series can be seen on WPIX. First pitch is at 7:05 PM ET.

Game Two: Sonny Gray vs. Doug Fister

Sonny Gray takes the mound for the first time since his brilliant outing against the Mariners last Saturday. Gray had the longest and best outing of his Yankee career thus far, going seven innings and striking out nine. Gray didn’t strikeout any Red Sox when he faced them two weeks ago and only gave up two runs. However, he could only get through five innings of work before being pulled due to a high pitch count.

Doug Fister makes his rivalry debut in Game Two on Friday. Fister has turned things around a bit this season with Boston. Since finishing eighth in Cy Young voting in 2014, Fister’s career had taken a bit of a nosedive, and he wasn’t on a team at the start of the 2017 season. He signed with the Angels in May but was waived in June, allowing the Red Sox to add him into their rotation. Since then, Fister has been exactly league average with a 100 ERA+. However, his last two starts have been great, including a one-run complete game against the Indians.

Game two will be broadcast on YES. The game will begin at 7:05 PM ET.

Game Three: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Drew Pomeranz

Like Gray, Tanaka returns to the mound after a brilliant outing against the Mariners. His season stat line still isn’t very pretty, but Tanaka has been great during the month of August. In four starts this month, Tanaka has thrown 24 innings, racking up 23 strikeouts along the way. His monthly ERA for August was 2.63, which was the best in the rotation.

Drew Pomeranz struggled a bit in his half-season debut with the Red Sox in 2016 after being traded from San Diego, but he’s had himself a very strong 2017 campaign. Pomeranz is 2-0 in four starts against the Yankees this year, and the Red Sox won both the games where Pomeranz took a no-decision.

The game will be broadcast on YES. First pitch is set for 1:05 PM ET.

Game Four: Luis Severino vs. Chris Sale

The marquee matchup for the series takes place in Game Four. Both teams will send their aces to the mound in a nationally-televised Sunday night game. Luis Severino had the worst outing of his season the last time he faced the Red Sox. In just 4 13 innings, Severino gave up 10 runs, eight earned. However, that one outing has been a clear outlier in his recent performance. Hopefully, it was just a fluke and not Severino tipping his pitches or anything like that.

The rivalry has not been kind to Chris Sale. Despite a 2.12 ERA against the Yankees this season, Chris Sale has not recorded a win against the Bombers. The Chapman-Devers game gave the Red Sox a victory, but the Yankees have won the other three games against Sale. With Luis Severino starting opposite Sale, the Yankees are putting themselves in the best position to keep Sale out of the win column yet again.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN. First pitch is set for 7:35 PM ET.