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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Series Preview

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The Yankees look to start their second half with some wins against a Red Sox team they’ve struggled with.

New York Yankees v Houston Astros Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Despite the way it ended, the Yankees’ series against the Astros to close out the first half actually featured some promising signs. They took two of three in Houston, shutting out a good Astros’ offense in both of the first two games. It’s just that after the way it ended, it was hard to not come away from the series feeling frustrated. With the All-Star break, the Yankees have had a couple days to shake that off, and for their sakes I hope they have, because things are not getting easier.

Next up for the Yankees is a Red Sox team that has owned them so far. Boston has not only won both series the teams have played thus far, they’ve won every game. Despite that, besides a seven-run loss in the sixth of six meetings, every other game has been semi-close. It’s just that every bounce has gone against them, whether they be self-inflicted or unlucky.

They have four games this week to right some of those wrongs, or fall back even further. It took the Yankees until late on Thursday afternoon to announce their pitching probables for the weekend, but let’s take a look at the head-to-heads we’ll see as they try to pick up some crucial wins.

Thursday: Domingo Germán vs. Eduardo Rodríguez (7:08 pm ET)

Germán’s two most recent appearances have both come out of the bullpen. An emergency root canal caused him to miss the first couple innings of an expected start in Seattle, and then he made an appearance in the aforementioned eventual loss to the Astros to end the first half. Chad Green may have been on the mound when they scored, but Germán was dinged with two runs in that disastrous ninth inning. In general, those outings continued his downward trend. Back on May 20th, he threw seven shutout innings. Since then, his ERA is over six and hitters are OPSing .816 off him.

Rodríguez hasn’t been great this season, but has held the Yankees in check both times he’s faced them. If you take out his combined five runs allowed in 11.1 innings, his ERA rises over two-tenths of a run. Considering it’s now mid-July, it’s not exactly great that the Yankees have such an effect on that number this late into the season.

Friday: Jordan Montgomery vs. Martín Pérez (7:05 pm ET)

Montgomery was the poor soul on the other side of the Yankees’ poor offensive performance to end the Mariners’ series. He was fine, allowing three runs in 6.2 innings, but took the loss after getting no run support. In his only other meeting against Boston this season, Montgomery was also solid in a losing effort back on June 26th.

The Yankees actually fared decently well against Pérez the only time they faced him this season. They knocked him out after 3.2 innings back on June 25th, getting him for three runs (zero earned thanks to an error) on six hits. They still lost that game, because obviously.

Saturday: Gerrit Cole vs. Nathan Eovaldi (7:15 pm ET)

Last time out, Cole had his defining performance as a Yankee so far, throwing a complete-game shutout against the Astros, hurling 129 pitches in a masterful 1-0 victory. The Yankees hopefully won’t need that exact outing again, but they are going to need something closer to that than his last game against Boston. His arguably-worst outing as a Yankee so far came against the Red Sox back on June 27th, as he gave up six runs (five earned) and three home runs in just five innings.

Eovaldi made his All-Star Game debut on Tuesday, throwing a scoreless inning in the AL’s win. He has the Yankees to partially thank for his ASG appearance, as he’s held them to just three runs (two earned) in 13.2 innings in the two games he’s faced them, and his ERA would be over four without them. That’s not to say that he hasn’t had good games against other teams, but the Yankees have really struggled against him this year so far.

Sunday: Jameson Taillon vs. Nick Pivetta (7:08 pm ET)

The Yankees had a lead to blow in the final in Houston in part because of Taillon’s performance. Despite his shaky overall numbers, in general, he’s been solid since his June 12th implosion against the Phillies. Over his last four starts, he’s allowed nine runs in a combined 24.2 innings (a 3.28 ERA), and five of those runs came in just one game.

On the whole, Pivetta’s numbers this season are just above average. Recently though, he’s been on quite the roller coaster. On June 24th, he blanked the Rays across 6.2 innings of work. Five days later, the Royals got him for six runs off nine hits in 4.1 innings. On July 4th, he struck out 10 A’s in a shutout win. Then in his most recent start, he lasted just four innings against the Phillies. That recent trend says he’ll hold the Yankees in check.