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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Jordan Montgomery vs. Tanner Houck

The rivalry returns after just a few days away, this time at Fenway Park.

MLB: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees have gone 9-3 in their last 12 games, winning four consecutive series against teams in the playoff hunt (the Mariners, Astros, Red Sox, and Phillies). This, of course, has all happened while losing their two primary left fielders to injuries as well as their first baseman, two replacement outfielders, and several bullpen and back-end rotation members. And — oh, right — they lost their best player, their third baseman, their ace’s personal catcher, and their best reliever to a rash of COVID.

Credit where credit is due: The replacements have stepped up. Rougned Odor has been the American League’s second-best hitting second baseman for the past month. Since being recalled, Greg Allen has hit .417, Estevan Florial has a 1.232 OPS, and Ryan LaMarre has provided three key hits, including last night’s walk-off. The pitching has been among the league’s best in July, and even Gleyber Torres has finally begun hitting home runs again.

It’s been something to see. But the problem with digging yourself such a big first-half hole is that there is no time to take it easy. The Yankees have to keep the good vibes going, and they have to start winning in Fenway Park for the first time in 2021. For all the fuzzy feelings, they remain seven games behind Boston in the AL East (six behind Tampa Bay for second), and 3.5 games behind the A’s for the second Wild Card spot.

Jordan Montgomery gets the start tonight against Tanner Houck. Montgomery mostly did his part in his last time out on July 16th with six innings of three-run ball against a good offense, but the Yankees’ lineup got blanked by Eduardo Rodriguez and the Boston bullpen in a 4-0 loss. Houck contributed to that shutout with three innings of one-hit ball to earn the save.

Now that the Yankees’ offense has found its rhythm somewhat, perhaps they won’t let Houck and company off the hook so easily. We can only hope. The lineup’s weird with Gary Sánchez getting the day off so that he can get a breather and hopefully catch the remaining three games in this series (he’s already scheduled to catch Gerrit Cole tomorrow), but, well, with the given personnel, all the lineups are weird these days. Rob Brantly time, baby! Pesky Pole power is ON.

Go Yankees, go baseball.

How to watch

Location: Fenway Park — Boston, MA

First pitch: 7:10 pm ET

TV broadcast: YES, NESN, MLBN (out-of-market only)

Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

Online stream:

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We’re in a rain delay with two outs in the top of the fifth. The Yankees are up 1-0 over the Red Sox, but it’s not an official game yet.

9:06pm ET: Tarp’s off. Game will resume in about half an hour.