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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox: Series Preview

The Yankees head to Fenway for the first meeting between the rivals of the second half

Atlanta Braves v Boston Red Sox Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

I hope the Yankees used the off-day as a hard reset, because they need to turn around their uninspiring play in a hurry. The team has lost seven of their last eight as part of a 7-13 second half slide. Earlier in the season, they found different ways to win contests, now they’re finding a new way to lose each night. And though the Red Sox may be last in the division, even a momentary lapse in concentration during this three-game set could spell disaster.

Friday: Domingo Germán vs. Nathan Eovaldi, 7:10 P.M. EDT

Domingo Germán has been surprisingly effective since his horror season debut against the Astros giving up five runs in three innings. He rebounded to give up two runs with seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings against the Mets, and then pitched a pair of five-inning starts, surrendering two and one runs against the Mariners and Cardinals respectively. He’s still giving up a home run per start and his strikeout totals lag his career averages, but we’ve seen some encouraging signs nonetheless from the pitcher who effectively took Jordan Montgomery’s spot in the rotation following the latter’s trade to St. Louis on deadline day. In four starts, Germán has a 5.09 ERA (77 ERA+), 5.78 FIP, and 13 strikeouts in 17.2 innings.

Nathan Eovaldi has generally tormented the Yankees as a starter for the Red Sox but is certainly prone to the occasional blowup. All told, he has pitched 16 games against the Bombers wearing a Boston uniform, with a 3.67 ERA, 3.87 FIP, and 71:13 strikeout to walk ratio across 73.2 innings. He has seriously regressed after placing third on the MLB pitching fWAR leaderboard last season. The walk rate is still pristine, but the fastball is a mph slower, batters are hitting the ball two mph harder, and he finds himself in the fifth percentile in hard hit rate and sixth percentile in barrel rate. In 17 starts, Eovaldi is 5-3 with a 4.23 ERA (101 ERA+), 4.45 FIP, and 93 strikeouts in 93.2 innings.

Saturday: Frankie Montas vs. Kutter Crawford, 7:15 P.M. EDT

Frankie Montas will get his first taste of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry when he takes the mound Saturday night. He struggled in his Bomber debut, giving up six runs in three innings against the Cardinals. However, the combination of his return from bereavement leave, recent stint on the IL with a shoulder injury, and less than 24 hour period with his new team prior to the start conspired to make it very hard for the new Yankee to succeed. In 20 starts, Montas is 4-9 with a 3.59 ERA (104 ERA+), 3.55 FIP, and 111 strikeouts in 107.2 innings.

Montas will face off against Boston rookie Kutter Crawford. The 26-year-old righty was drafted by the Red Sox in the 16th round of the 2017 MLB Draft and bedeviled the Bombers the last time they clashed, going five innings of one-run ball on four hits against six strikeouts. He throws a four-seamer in the mid-90s and a cutter in the high-80s as his main offerings. The fastball exhibits the eighth-most rise versus average of any four-seamer in baseball — a trait which has given Yankees hitters problems this season. In 17 appearances (eight starts), Crawford is 3-4 with a 4.30 ERA (100 ERA+), 3.70 FIP, and 60 strikeouts in 58.2 innings.

Sunday: Jameson Taillon vs. TBD, 7:08 P.M. EDT

Jameson Taillon gets the series finale looking to build off his much-needed rebound start against the Mariners, when he held Seattle to three runs on three hits against six strikeouts in seven innings. One concerning development in the last month has seen his walk totals balloon in a manner most uncharacteristic of the 30-year-old righty. He led baseball with a 2.9 percent walk rate in the first half, but has since issued 12 free passes across his last four starts. It would also behoove him to keep the ball in the yard, having given up a pair of dingers in each of his last two outings. In 22 starts, Taillon is 11-2 with a 3.95 ERA (97 ERA+), 4.03 FIP, and 104 strikeouts in 120.2 innings.

The Red Sox have not announced a starter for Sunday’s contest. Rich Hill is one option having last pitched on the ninth. The 42-year-old lefty continues his assault against Father Time, though he recently missed a month with a sprained left knee. He tormented the Yankees as a Ray in 2021, logging a pair of scoreless outings after a wobbly first meeting in April. In 17 starts, Hill is 4-5 with a 4.75 ERA (90 ERA+), 4.32 FIP, and 59 strikeouts in 77.2 innings.

The other option would be rookie Josh Winckowski. Drafted by the Blue Jays in the 15th round of the 2016 MLB Draft, Winckowski was first traded to the Mets in the 2020-21 offseason in the Steven Matz deal before being dealt 14 days later as part of the three-team trade that landed Andrew Benintendi in Kansas City. The 24 year old righty gave up six runs on six hits against the Yankees on July 7th and throws a mid-90s sinker and mid-80s slider as his primary offerings. In 10 starts, Winckowski is 5-5 with a 4.68 ERA (91 ERA+), 5.12 FIP, and 32 strikeouts in 50 innings.