Even though the division title is most likely out of reach for the Yankees, this upcoming series against the Red Sox is important for two reasons. First, the Bombers need to actually win games to secure home field advantage for the Wild Card Game. This fact seems lost on the club right now. On the other hand, I have no interest in seeing Boston celebrate at Yankee Stadium. Sweep the series and make them wait, please.
Game one: J.A. Happ vs. Nathan Eovaldi
The series opens with a pair of trade deadline acquisitions squaring off. Since arriving in New York, Happ has been a revelation. He has stabilized the rotation, posting a 2.70 ERA (4.44 FIP) across 46.2 innings. The Yankees landed Happ, in part, because of his success against the Red Sox. Over the last four seasons, the southpaw has held Boston to a 1.78 ERA. I am rooting for that success to continue.
Since joining the Red Sox, Eovaldi has been as inconsistent as ever. He started off well, but then totally imploded, earning a demotion to the bullpen. He has a 4.17 ERA with a 3.49 FIP with Boston, reminiscent of the maddening Eovaldi who pitched in pinstripes. On the other hand, he tossed eight innings of shutout ball against the Yankees last month. Maybe don’t let him do that again.
Game two: Luis Severino vs. David Price
Did Severino figure things out last week? Ryan Chichester thinks he might have. One start doesn’t wipe away 61 innings of 6.34 ERA (4.35 FIP) ball, though. Severino represents one of the most important players for the Yankees moving into the playoffs. A strong start against the Red Sox would go a long way towards building confidence for a postseason run.
Price, meanwhile, has stepped up as the staff ace for the Red Sox in the absence of Chris Sale. The southpaw owns a 3.42 ERA with a 3.64 FIP. That becomes even more impressive considering his 1.56 ERA (2.25 FIP) in the second half. Then again, Price has struggled against the Yankees this season. He has a 12.19 ERA against the Bombers. Keep that trend going, please.
Game three: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Eduardo Rodriguez
Tanaka continued his stretch of impressive pitching with six shutout innings against the Blue Jays last weekend. The right-hander has pitched to a 2.09 ERA with a 2.67 FIP in the second half. That includes a nine strikeout performance against Boston, where he allowed one run in 4.2 innings. He’s the prohibitive favorite for the Wild Card start, and could add to his case with a successful outing against Boston.
Rodriguez, 25, is in the midst of a strong campaign. The southpaw has a 3.53 ERA with a 3.45 FIP over 119.2 innings. He’s working with career-high numbers in the strikeout category (10 K/9) and groundball rates (40.1%). Rodriguez has a 4.09 ERA against the Bombers this season, so they’ve fared a little better against him than the rest of the league, if that’s any consolation.
If you’re interested in attending any of these games, StubHub still has tickets available. You can purchase them by clicking here.