If Josh is tethered to Clarke Schmidt, as he stated at the outset of yesterday’s aborted game thread, then I can’t help but feel the same way about Randy Vásquez, who has run a very solid 2.36 ERA (albeit with a corresponding 5.47 FIP) over his first 26.2 big league innings. Last night’s rainout turning into this afternoon’s day-night doubleheader has the Yankees calling upon Vásquez for his fifth spot start of the year, and the fourth consecutive one (dating back to June!) for which I’ve had the pleasure of writing up his gamethread and recap.
Vásquez ought to have a slightly easier time against the Red Sox this afternoon than he did in his last starting effort, when he struggled through 3.1 innings against a beyond-stacked Atlanta lineup on August 16th. He’s acquitted himself well since then, throwing two scoreless innings of relief work against Houston on September 1st, then allowing one run while striking out five over 2.1 innings against Detroit on the 7th.
As one of the league’s most strikeout-averse teams, Boston poses an interesting matchup for the young righthander. It strikes me that if Vásquez manages to live around the plate and avoid the walks that plagued him against Atlanta’s terrifying group of bats, his six-pitch mix should be enough to generate efficient outs against a team that likes putting the ball in play. That being said, it’s a lineup that can be adept at punishing mistakes, and all the weak contact in the world won’t matter if you make too many mistakes over the plate to hitters like Rafael Devers, Justin Turner, Adam Duvall, or Triston Casas, who’s absolutely torn the cover off the ball to a .985 OPS since June 3rd. I suspect he’ll be able to get it done and keep them in the game through at least four or five innings, but one never knows with an inexperienced rookie.
Alex Cora and the Red Sox counter with Nick Pivetta, who recently made his own return to the starting rotation after spending the bulk of the season in a multi-inning relief role. At this point, we know the story with Pivetta. He’ll miss plenty of bats — his strikeouts have spiked to an elite 30.4 percent this season working mostly in relief work — but he also still doesn’t have much of an idea of where the ball is going, running a walk rate north of nine percent for the fourth consecutive season. It’s pretty simple: The Yankees will probably have plenty of people on base, and if they can come up with the timely hitting to bring them in (or crush the gopher balls that he’s equally liable to throw), they’ll probably win the game, barring a total pitching staff meltdown.
Estevan Florial, called up yesterday, finds himself in center field and batting seventh, while Austin Wells, originally in last night’s lineup, is subbed out for Kyle Higashioka and will presumably start the nightcap, instead. Oswald Peraza is not in, as his knee has been swelling up of late, so New York will probably take it easy with him.
How to watch
Location: Fenway Park — Boston, MA
First pitch: 1:35 PM ET
TV broadcast: Amazon Prime Video, NESN, MLBN
Radio broadcast: WFAN 660/101.9 FM, WADO 1280 / WEEI 93.7
Online stream: Amazon Prime Video / MLB.tv (out of market only)