The Boston Red Sox will enter their last series of the year against the Yankees with an extreme outside shot at the playoffs, with FanGraphs tabbing them with a 6.2% chance of winning a wild card. The Yankees can hit those odds with a hammer this weekend with a four-game set at Fenway Park.
David Price was tabbed to start game one on Friday before suffering a setback with his wrist injury, throwing the team’s rotation plans into chaos.
Friday: Domingo German vs Jhoulys Chacin
Domingo German will get the ball on Friday night, looking to build off two strong starts in a row, where he’s thrown 11 innings and surrendered three runs against the Dodgers and Athletics. The young right-hander has to worry about his home run rate - 1.97 HR/9 - but who doesn’t in 2019?
As stated above, this was the game that David Price was supposed to be starting. Instead, it looks like the Red Sox will turn to Jhoulys Chacin, whom the team signed last week after having been released by the Brewers in August. Chacin was quite effective for Milwaukee last season, but owns a 5.79 ERA and 5.68 FIP in 88.2 innings in 2019.
Saturday: J.A. Happ vs. TBD
We only have to endure a few more J.A. Happ starts in 2019, and Saturday will be one of them. The lefty has had the worst season of his career, combining a sharply declining K-BB% with a propensity to give up a lot of hard contact. It’ll be difficult for him to navigate a lineup replete with right-handed power like the Red Sox boast. For what it’s worth, Happ is coming off one of his few great starts this season, as he held the Athletics scoreless over six innings last Sunday.
The Red Sox will likely counter with their second straight Johnny Wholestaff start.
Sunday: Masahiro Tanaka vs. Rick Porcello
Tanaka’s having himself a strange season, with fewer strikeouts, more walks and more runs allowed than 2018, but he’s on a pretty nice hot streak of late. His last six starts he’s pitched to a 2.43 ERA and he appears to be rounding into the form Yankee fans have come to expect from him late in the season. He’s made two starts against Boston this year, his two worst of the year, and we can expect and hope his 40.50 ERA against the Red Sox in 2019 comes down a bit.
Like a lot of pitchers on the Red Sox, Rick Porcello is having the worst year of his career, with a 5.63 ERA, 4.94 FIP and 11.4 K-BB%. He’s thrown 11 innings against the Yankees this year with a 10:3 K:BB ratio.
Monday: James Paxton vs. Eduardo Rodriguez
I am giddy about how Paxton has looked lately, with two dominant starts against the Dodgers and Rangers sandwiched around a strange start in Seattle. The balky knee that most of us suspected was the cause of his midseason swoon appears to be back to 100%, and that’s given him a lot more life on the fastball, and he’s mixed in a knuckle curve more and more to great success.
Eduardo Rodriguez has been the rock of the Red Sox rotation with Chris Sale’s absence, sporting a 128 ERA+ despite a declining strikeout to walk ratio. He’s surrendered a .756 OPS against the Yankees this year.