The Yankees capped off a big series win against the Red Sox on Sunday night with a lethal barrage of home runs, one that sent David Price retreating for a storm shield. The Bombers tagged their favorite opponent for eight runs en route to an 11-1 victory. Despite being shut down by Chris Sale on Saturday, the Yankees managed to score 19 runs in the three-game set, taking a 5-4 season series advantage in the process.
The home run parade was led by a group of Yankees who have enjoyed early success against Boston, including the likes of Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Greg Bird. Aaron Hicks launched a trio of dingers into the New York night on Sunday, but his overall career numbers against the Red Sox are still pedestrian at best (although his .746 OPS through 25 career at-bats against Sale is one of the best marks on the team).
Sale remains one of the best pitchers in baseball. The Yankees will have to see if time and experience will help them crack the case on the nasty southpaw, much like they did against Dallas Keuchel in last year’s ALCS. For now, Sale notwithstanding, the Bombers are enjoying immense offensive success against Red Sox pitching, which is certainly a positive for a team looking to win a division and avoid the dreaded one-game playoff.
Take Giancarlo Stanton for example. Sure, Boston should be thrilled with the historic production they are receiving from J.D. Martinez, but the Yankees are happy with what Stanton has done to their rivals so far. His current line against Red Sox pitching is jaw-dropping, particularly his 1.056 OPS. He is 4-for-7 with two homers against Drew Pomeranz; he went 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles against Rick Porcello; and he even has a couple of hits in six at-bats against Sale. As Boston’s rotation holds a cadre of southpaws, Stanton’s right-handed power could be a decisive force down the stretch.
Judge, Stanton’s home run partner-in-crime, has a decent .785 OPS against Boston pitching. This weekend, however, showed that he mashes the Red Sox while in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium. Thanks to six of the first nine games against the Red Sox being played in the Bronx this season, Judge has logged a 1.398 OPS with four home runs against Boston pitching. He will have to improve at Fenway and against Sale (he’s 3-for-18 with 13 strikeouts), but the numbers show that Judge loves to show up for the rivalry.
It has been an even smaller sample size for Torres, as he just got his first taste of the rivalry this season, but man, has it been a good first impression. His three-run homer on Sunday put a bow on a weekend where he drove in four runs. He walked away from the series with a 1.108 OPS against the Red Sox, who now have another dynamic bat to navigate around when they face the Yankees. In six games against Boston this season, Torres has managed a hit in all of them.
No matter who is up to bat for the Yankees, Red Sox manager Alex Cora will have to tread carefully. Whether it’s Greg Bird against Eduardo Rodriguez or the entire team against Price, there’s always a threat lurking in the lineup. That should help Yankees fans sleep at night, especially when they think about the landscape of the divisional race moving forward.