Red Sox Series Preview: Vs. Yankees


After winning their first series of 2015, taking two of three games from the Philadelphia Phillies, the Boston Red Sox pull into New York, to face their rivals: The New York Yankees.

Pitching match-ups are always important, and this series will be no different. The Red Sox need to know what they may have in lefty starter Wade Miley, who made the move from Arizona in the off-season, and righty Joe Kelly, who just came off of the injured list.

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Kelly has already pitched for the Red Sox, last season, after being part of the trade that included Allen Craig to Boston for a package including veteran starter John Lackey. Kelly started 10 games for Boston, posting a record of 4-2, with a 4.11 ERA. He will be looking to regain the form that made him a starter in St. Louis, recording 10 wins to 5 losses in 2013.

After being an All-Star for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2012, Miley was playing on a team that continued to lose, including the days that he pitched. He posted a 10-10 and an 8-12 record in 2013 and 2014, respectively. Miley does fit Red Sox manager John Farrell’s strategy of pitching starters longer than opposing teams, as the new acquisition eats up innings. Miley has pitched over 200 innings for the last two seasons, and threw over 194 innings in 2012.

Series Schedule @ Yankees (Yankee Stadium):

April 10th @ 7:05 PM ET; Wade Miley vs. Nathan Eovaldi

April 11th @ 1:05 PM ET; Joe Kelly vs. Adam Warren

April 12th @ 8:05 PM ET;

Clay Buchholz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Mashahiro Tanaka (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

Considering their competition on the mound looks like pitching fodder for Boston’s booming bats, with Eovaldi and Warren pitching a combined 21 wins in 82 starts and 187 appearances, the most anticipated pairing will be Buchholz against Tanaka.

Tanaka recently got roughed up against the Toronto Blue Jays, making people wonder if he can be the ace that the Yankees will need this season. In 4.0 innings, Tanaka gave up 4 runs on 5 hits, 2 walks, and 6 strikeouts. The righty was highly praised before he signed with the Yankees and dominated his opponents, last season, until injury forced him to take a seat on the bench.

Bryan Hoch of reported that “Tanaka’s shift in style has raised suspicion that he is protecting the torn ligament in his pitching elbow, fearful of sustaining a further injury that would require Tommy John surgery. Tanaka said that he decided in-game to feed the Blue Jays a steady diet of breaking balls on Monday because he thought his fastballs ‘were being hit.'”

Apr 6, 2015; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) on opening day at Citizens bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

With the way that Buchholz handled the Phillies’ bats, the early issues with Tanaka would seem that the Red Sox would have the advantage. However, even with the Yankees’ bats being old, they still have some power behind them.

Expect the Red Sox to want at least another two out of three games from this series, if not a sweep. It will come down to whether the Red Sox pitching can keep a team like the Yankees off of the scoreboard. Then again, Boston has scored 16 runs in only 3 games.

Red Sox Key Players To Watch:

  • Hanley Ramirez already has a pair of home runs, including a grand slam, to his credit. He also just missed another grand slam to overcome the only defeat, this season. Ramirez seeing the ball this well this early suggests that there are more big bombs coming.
  • After the hot play he showed in both spring training and the first game of the season, Mookie Betts has had a couple of nights without success. He has only one hit in his last nine at-bats. Betts will need to find a way to get on base, as he is the highly-touted leadoff for the Red Sox lineup.
  • Buchholz will want to continue his first game’s success, if he wishes to dispel any doubters that he is the rightful pitcher to start Boston’s rotation.

Yankees Key Players To Watch:

  • Tanaka must find other ways to get hitters out than by throwing breaking balls. The Red Sox are a group that likes to wait for good pitches to hit. So patient, in fact, that they might be able to walk their way to victory, if Tanaka cannot find the strikezone.
  • The entire Yankees team has a total of 17 hits in 3 games. That statistic averages to 1.4 hits per player who has gone up to bat as a Bronx Bomber. In 89 plate appearances, 7.4 per hitter, each only has that many hits? Former Red Sox and current Yankees center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury leads the team with three hits, knocking them from the left side of the plate. Look for him to be the only real threat against righties Kelly and Buchholz, while Miley’s left hand may keep him from harm.

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