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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Series Preview

The Yankees will look to extend their division lead with a four game set at home against their hated rivals

MLB: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

Round two of the rivalry kicks off tonight with a four-game set in the Bronx, after the Yankees swept Boston for two wins back in April. The Yankees enter the series 7.5 games ahead of the Red Sox in the division and will be looking for their ninth straight series win. It’s a great opportunity for the Yankees to put Boston in a hole similar to the one the Yankees were never able to climb out of last season. Here’s how the two teams stack up for the always anticipated showdown.

Game One: J.A. Happ vs. Chris Sale

Staff ace Chris Sale is set to start for the Red Sox in the opening game of the series on Thursday night to immediately try and cut into the Yankees’ lead in the AL East. Sale faced the Yankees on April 16th and took the loss, surrendering four earned runs in five innings. That was the night James Paxton dominated the Red Sox to the tune of 12 strikeouts over eight shutout innings.

This time J.A. Happ, who posted a quality start against Boston on April 17th, will take the hill for the Yankees. Happ holds a career 3.05 ERA in 21 starts against the Red Sox, but he’ll be especially careful with Steve Pearce, who’s taken him deep six times in 43 career at-bats. Sale enters Thursday’s game looking to put a bow on a strong May. The left-hander is 1-1 with a 2.23 ERA in five May starts, as memories of his disastrous start to the season begin to fade.

Game Two: Domingo German vs. Eduardo Rodriguez

Domingo German will be looking to bounce back on Friday night after a clunker in Kansas City. It was the first real black mark on German’s season, so it will be interesting to see how he responds. Eduardo Rodriguez will take the hill for Boston, coming off one of his best starts of the season in Houston. Gleyber Torres is 3-for-7 with a triple and home run in his young career against Rodriguez, so don’t be surprised if he continues to do damage on Friday.

Game Three: TBD vs. Rick Porcello

The Yankees starter will likely depend on the status of CC Sabathia as he recovers from his forever-ongoing knee injury. Boone suggested that Sabathia could be back Sunday for the final game of the series, but Tanaka is the projected starter that day. The Yankees could use an opener again on Saturday and push Tanaka back a day if they really want Sabathia to go against the Red Sox, but bullpen usage and Sabathia’s health will play a role.

Porcello enters the series coming off three straight quality starts. The right-hander struggled through April, but owns a solid 3.34 ERA in five May starts. Porcello dominated the Yankees in four starts last season, pitching to a 2.31 ERA in 23.1 innings, even better than his career 3.11 ERA in 22 starts against New York.

Game Four: TBD vs. David Price

Price was pulled in the first inning of his May 25th start due to flu-like symptoms, this coming five days after his return from an IL stint with elbow tendinitis. Regardless of his rocky medical record early this season, Price was been quite successful and enters New York with a 2.83 ERA in nine starts. He also bounced back from his illness with six shutout innings against the Indians on Tuesday.

Regardless of his success this season, Price can’t feel good about coming into Yankee Stadium. He went 0-3 with a 10.34 ERA in four regular season starts against the Yankees in 2018 and owns a career 4.83 ERA in 126.2 innings at Yankee Stadium. Gary Sanchez is 6-for-13 with five home runs in 17 at-bats against Price in his career, so don’t be surprised if the Red Sox choose to pitch around The Kraken on Sunday. ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball crew will be broadcasting the game from the Judge’s Chambers, so that’s a unique wrinkle to keep an eye out for.