The Yankees’ goal for Sunday is simple: keep the juggernaut rolling and clinch a postseason berth.
The Bombers, winners of 10 straight, can seal a playoff spot with a victory against the Boston Red Sox in Fenway Park. They currently sit in the fourth seed in the American League at 31-21, mere percentage points better than the 32-22 Minnesota Twins — a minuscule yet crucial difference as the higher seed will enjoy home field advantage for the entire three-game first-round matchup between the two clubs that seems increasingly likely to take place.
The Yankees hand the ball to rookie sensation Deivi García, who’s 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA (3.97 FIP), 0.97 WHIP and 24 strikeouts against just four walks in 24.2 innings this season. He’s given the team seven innings in each of his last two outings. The 21-year-old Dominican hurler is looking forward to pitching on the mound that the legendary Pedro Martínez (who’s a card-carrying member of the Deivi fan club) once called home.
Opposite García will be Red Sox rookie Tanner Houck, who impressed in his major-league debut Tuesday against the Miami Marlins. The 24-year-old right-hander tossed five shutout innings, allowing just two hits and three walks while striking out seven to earn his first career win. He’s primarily a sinker/slider pitcher whose low arm slot provides a measure of deception against opponents, according to an MLB.com scouting report.
A finally healthy Yankees lineup will provide Houck with a stiff test. After a historic home run barrage against the Toronto Blue Jays mid-week, the Bombers have kept hitting, outscoring the Red Sox 14-5 over the first two games of the series. Also of note: second baseman DJ LeMahieu sits atop the batting title race with a .368 average, a nose ahead of Chicago White Sox shortstop Tim Anderson (.366).
Here’s the lineup the Yankees will roll out:
And here’s Boston’s:
Game time: 1:07 p.m. ET
Location: Fenway Park, Boston
TV broadcast: YES, TBS (for those out of market)
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM
Online Stream: MLB.tv