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New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox: Gerrit Cole vs. Josh Winckowski

Gerrit Cole returns to Fenway Park after last October’s Wild Card loss as the Yankees look to halt the surging Red Sox in their tracks.

Wild Card Round - New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Last night’s 16-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates was fun, wasn’t it? But you know what would be even better? That’s right, a win over the Boston Red Sox — and what do you know, the Yankees open up a four-game set against their archrivals tonight in Boston, as they seek to remind the surging Red Sox who runs the American League East.

Gerrit Cole (7-2, 2.99 ERA, 3.42 FIP) gets the ball for the Yankees. Since his disaster of an outing against the Twins back on June 9th, the Yankees ace has been electric, sporting a 1.39 ERA and limiting opposing hitters to a .146/.225/.258 slash line. Nobody will be focusing on his performance this season tonight, however, as he makes his return to Fenway Park after his disastrous outing in the AL Wild Card Game last season, in which he allowed three runs on four hits (including two home runs) and was unable to record an out in the third.

Opposing Cole will be Josh Winckowski (3-2, 3.12 ERA, 2.96 FIP), a rookie right-hander who will be making his sixth start of the season. The right-hander has been a revelation for a Red Sox pitching staff that has battled injuries and been desperate for arms all season: he has not allowed more than two runs in a start since his MLB debut on May 28th, and he has walked just one batter per game.

That said, the Yankees in many ways represent Winckowski’s first real test, as his previous starts have come against the Oakland Athletics (who have the worst OPS+ in baseball), the Detroit Tigers (29th), the Cleveland Guardians (22nd), and the Chicago Cubs (13th). On paper, this looks to be a favorable outing for the Yankees — which based on previous history unfortunately means that it could be time to buckle up.

As for the Yankees starting lineup ... try not to panic. Aaron Judge is not in the starting lineup tonight because he is day-to-day with “lower body tightness,” according to manager Aaron Boone. At this point in time, it seems that the Yankees are simply opting to be cautious, since Boone did say that Judge should be available off the bench as a pinch-hitter. While that makes sense — the Yankees are 14 games up in the division and have a 5.5-game lead over the Astros for best record in the league — it is something that will be on everybody’s mind for the next few days.

With Judge out of the lineup, Aaron Hicks slides back over to center field, while Gleyber Torres takes Judge’s typical slot in the lineup. Giancarlo Stanton returns to the outfield tonight, playing left field for just the second time this season, as Joey Gallo mans Fenway’s spacious right field. Anthony Rizzo also remains out of the lineup with back stiffness, giving Matt Carpenter another start at DH.

How to watch

Location: Fenway Park — Boston, MA

First pitch: 7:10 pm EDT

TV Broadcast: YES, NESN, MLB Network (out-of-market only)

Radio Broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280

Online stream:

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