The last week has not been kind to the Yankees from a player health standpoint. First, they lost Giancarlo Stanton to a hamstring injury. Then, after much prevaricating, it was revealed that Aaron Judge would miss time with a calf strain. And finally last night, DJ LeMahieu exited with a thumb strain that will park him on the 10-day injured list. Despite all this, the Yankees have again embraced the next-man-up mentality and have continued their winning ways. Bats are heating up at a time it is needed most, and the Bombers will try for a third straight night of double-digit scoring against the rival Red Sox.
J.A. Happ is desperately in search of a bounce-back start, and he will need to be sharp against a still-dangerous Boston lineup. So far, the veteran lefty has looked more like the Happ of the first five months of last season, rather than the version we saw in September 2019 or spring training 1.0.
In two games this season, he is 0-1 with a 10.29 ERA, 11.28 FIP and 2.143 WHIP in seven innings, and did not cross the 70 pitch threshold in either outing. He is beset by many of the troubles that plagued him last year, namely walks and the long ball. He gave up six walks in his last start, leading to his exit after only three innings, and is surrendering almost four(!) home runs per nine innings. That is not a recipe for success against the Red Sox, as they have launched seven home runs in five games at Yankee Stadium this year.
Chris Mazza takes the mound for the visitors after being called up from the alternate training site earlier this afternoon. This will certainly be a bullpen game for the Red Sox, as Mazza has only made one relief appearance this year. However, in that lone appearance against the Yankees on August 1st, he pitched 2.2 scoreless, innings striking out three, so he represents the best option at opener for Boston.
The Yankees lineup has been severely hamstrung by the absences of Stanton, Judge, and now LeMahieu. Nonetheless, there is still plenty of pop in the replacements’ bats. With the recent resurgences of Gleyber Torres and Gary Sanchez, as well as Clint Frazier’s blistering start, it appears the Yankees have sufficient offensive cover while the big guys heal. Mike Ford gives Luke Voit the night off at first. Tyler Wade, spurred on by his RBI double last night, looks like the go-to replacement with LeMahieu on the IL.
Boston still has plenty of power in the top two-thirds of their lineup, and they will be looking to tee off against a so far ineffective Happ. This is probably their best opportunity to snag a win from this four-game set, and it could prove to be a high-scoring slugfest.
We got Sunday Night Baseball coming your way: pic.twitter.com/8zMJxDySn1— Red Sox (@RedSox) August 16, 2020
How to watch:
Location: Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
First pitch: 7:08 p.m. EDT
TV broadcast: ESPN
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM
Online Stream: WatchESPN