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Yankees vs. Red Sox series preview: No worse than first

Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees enter their final series before the All-Star break three games up on the rest of the AL East. Math tells us that being three games up with three games to play means that New York will make it to the break in no worse than a tie for first place, which I think most of us would have happily taken as the outcome if someone had pitched it to us back in the offseason.

Boston has been in the AL East basement for most of the season, thanks to disappointing play from just about everyone not named Mookie Betts. However, the Red Sox have been surging as of late with four straight wins to their name. They have only dropped two games over their last ten to give them the best record over those ten games of any team in the division. The division-leading Yankees will be hoping they can cool them off starting tonight.

Tonight's game will be a battle of each team's best pitchers with Michael Pineda matching up against Clay Buchholz. His Greasiness was dominant in his last start against the Astros, giving up one run in nine innings. Pineda also enjoyed success his last time out, striking out ten and giving up no runs in seven innings against the Rays.

Ivan Nova will be matched up with newcomer Eduardo Rodriguez in the middle game on Saturday. The Yankees were roughed up in Nova's last start in which the starter lasted only five innings. Rodriguez has picked up a win in his last two starts against Houston and Toronto, respectively. The series and first half finale on Sunday will feature Nathan Eovaldi pitching against Wade Miley. Eovaldi has turned in a few strong performances as of late, improving quite a bit over what we saw at the beginning of the season. Miley has an ugly 4.50 ERA on the season despite his winning record.

The Yankees will have to win without their starting third baseman, Chase Headley. Headley has now missed three games with a calf injury, though he says he could play if the team would let him. Cole Figueroa will start in his place after a great debut on Thursday against the Athletics in which he doubled twice.

Here's tonight's complete lineup:

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