The Yankees enter Sunday's action seeking a series win versus the Red Sox, having already clinched the season series with Saturday's 5-1 victory over their rivals. There is more than bragging rights on the line, however, as the Yankees still hope to catch Boston in the AL East while holding off a pack of Wild Card contenders.
New York trails Boston by 4 1/2 games in the East. In the Wild Card race, the Yankees lead the Twins by 1 1/2 games, the Angels by 3, and the Orioles by 3 following the conclusion of Sunday's earlier contests. Get ready for a Sunday night baseball duel of aces, as the Yankees send Luis Severino to the mound to face Chris Sale.
Severino is 11-6 and ranks among the league leaders in every pitching rate stat. He is fourth in ERA (3.14), third in WHIP (1.10), fourth in batting average (.220), third in on-base percentage (.279), fourth in slugging average (.355), third in OPS (.634), fourth in strikeouts per nine (10.58), and sixth in strikeouts to walks (4.27).
Sale is 15-6 with a 2.77 ERA and 0.91 WHIP. He is running neck and neck with Corey Kluber in the AL Cy Young Award race, with the two ranking first and second in every rate stat. Sale has a batting line against of .197/.241/.316/.558 with 12.82 strikeouts per nine and a 7.54 strikeout to walk ratio.
This season, The Yankees are 3-1 in games started by Sale. He has a 2.12 ERA and 0.91 WHIP versus the Bombers, so hitters have managed to put their hits and walks together and make them count.
New York is 2-1 versus Boston in games started by Severino, who has a 4.42 ERA and 1.15 WHIP against the Red Sox. Those numbers are pulled down by a lousy start in August where he gave up eight earned runs and failed to complete five innings. The Yankees need Severino to be at his best for tonight's season-series finale.
A win tonight will give New York a 5-5 record on this homestand. The Yankees embark on a nine-game road trip beginning tomorrow in Baltimore.
- Matt Holliday's home run on Saturday was his first since July 15th. Holliday missed considerable playing time after being stricken with a virus on the Yankees' West Coast trip in June. New York is 35-40 since the start of that trip on June 12th.
- Chase Headley is hitting .327/.395/.523/.918 with six home runs since the All-Star break. He hit .251/.341/.366/.706 with four home runs in the first half of the season.
- Greg Bird is hitting .292/.370/.542/.912 with two home runs in eight games since returning to action. The Yankees scored 25 runs in the seven games he started, with Bird driving in nine of them.
- Katie Sharp reports that only five players in the modern era (since 1900) have reached 100 walks in their rookie season. Aaron Judge currently has 99. Ted Williams (1939) holds the record with 107.
- Katie Sharp also reports that the only Yankees under age 25 to hit six home runs in a season versus the Red Sox are Gary Sanchez (2017), Mickey Mantle (1954 and 1956), and Lou Gehrig (1927). Sanchez also joins Don Mattingly (September 1985), Mantle (three times), Joe DiMaggio (twice), and Gehrig (June 1927) as the only Yankees under age 25 to hit 12 or more home runs in a month.
- Sarah Langs for ESPN reports that 2008 was the last time that all three American League division leaders entering September held on to win their division. Also, only 13 of 21 eventual World Series winners since 1996 led their divisions entering play on September 1st. Reasons for Yankee fans to remain optimistic, perhaps?
- Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine had their appeals heard on Friday, but a decision is not expected until Tuesday or Wednesday because of the long Labor Day holiday weekend. Sanchez had appealed his four-game suspension and Romine appealed his two-game suspension stemming from their involvement in the brawl in Detroit. Tiger's players Miguel Cabrera and Alex Wilson have already had their suspensions reduced by one game each. Cabrera will sit out six games while Wilson is out for three.
- Aaron Hicks was placed on the 10-day DL today after experiencing tightness in his left oblique while running down a Hanley Ramirez drive in the sixth inning of Saturday's win. Jacoby Ellsbury took over in center field and Hicks was sent for an MRI examination. Hicks had missed 39 games with a left oblique injury suffered on June 25th.
- Rookie left-hander Caleb Smith was recalled from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Hicks' place on the roster. Smith has a 6.11 ERA in 17 plus innings for the Yankees this year.
|BOSTON RED SOX||NEW YORK YANKEES|
|Eduardo Nunez - SS||Brett Gardner - LF|
|Andrew Benintendi - LF||Chase Headley - 1B|
|Mookie Betts - RF||Gary Sanchez - C|
|Mitch Moreland - 1B||Starlin Castro - 2B|
|Dustin Pedroia - 2B||Aaron Judge - RF|
|Rafael Devers - 3B||Didi Gregorius - SS|
|Hanley Ramirez - DH||Matt Holliday - DH|
|Sandy Leon - C||Todd Frazier - 3B|
|Jackie Bradley - CF||Jacoby Ellsbury - CF|
|Chris Sale - LHP||Luis Severino - RHP|