Red Sox Preview: Battle in the Bronx


The Boston Red Sox (75-80) travel to the Bronx to take on the New York Yankees (86-69) for the final time this season.

Boston is coming off of an impressive sweep in which they kept the Baltimore Orioles off of the scoreboard for the entire weekend series to wrap up their final homestand of the season. The Red Sox had only recorded seven shutouts all season, none of which came in back-to-back games, before stringing together three straight. The sweep moves them out of the AL East basement by a half game over the Tampa Bay Rays, while pulling them within a game of Baltimore for third place.

More from Red Sox News

The Yankees took three out of four against the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, but still trail the Toronto Blue Jays be 4 games. Even if they were to sweep their remaining schedule, the Yankees will be hard pressed to catch the surging Jays for the division title. However, they have nearly locked up a Wild Card spot with a 4.5 game lead over Houston for the top spot. They also lead the Los Angeles Angels by 5 games, making it highly unlikely that they get knocked out of the postseason race.

While the Red Sox aren’t mathematically eliminated yet, they remain 6 games back of Houston in the loss column with only 7 games left to play. They aren’t going to make it, but they can still play the spoiler role against their fiercest rival. Boston winning this series would essentially ensure that the Yankees won’t win the division, while also potentially forcing them to enter their final series still needing wins to lock up the Wild Card.

Pitching Matchups @ Yankee Stadium:

September 28 @ 7:05 PM

September 29 @ 7:00 PM

September 30 @ 7:05 PM

October 1 @ 7:00 PM

Series Notes:

  • The Red Sox have been using Jackie Bradley in center field for the better part of the last two weeks, while shifting Mookie Betts over to right field. To open the series they will move Betts back to center and put Bradley in left, which has much more ground to cover in Yankee Stadium than it does at Fenway. This may only be a one-game change while Rusney Castillo has the night off, as they would probably prefer having Brock Holt in the shallower right field.
  • David Ortiz will get a breather Monday night, giving Allen Craig a rare start as the DH. Craig is hitting .167 over 18 at-bats this month, while appearing in parts of 8 games.
  • The Yankees will very likely be the only American League playoff team that won’t have a single position player ranking inside the top-25 in the league in WAR. The injured Mark Teixeira is currently tied for 25th with a 3.8 WAR, but could easily be surpassed in the final week. Brett Gardner is next with a 3.5 WAR, but doesn’t have enough time to climb the list. Toronto has 4 players on that list, including league-leader Josh Donaldson (8.9 WAR). Even the Red Sox have a pair of players in the top-25. Betts is 7th (5.6 WAR) and Xander Bogaerts is 15th (4.8 WAR).
  • New York is second in the league in runs, having scored 21 more runs than third place Boston this season. However, the Red Sox are second in the league since the break, outscoring the Yankees by 12 runs.
  • Monday will be the 5th straight game that the Red Sox will start a different left-handed pitcher. That’s the longest such streak the franchise has had since 1951, per the Elias Sports Bureau.

Key Hitters:

Red Sox – Xander Bogaerts

  • The 22-year old shortstop has been one of the team’s hottest hitters down the stretch, slashing .367/.410/.531 in September. He has also found success against this Yankees pitching staff, hitting .302 in 63 at-bats against them this season. Bogaerts enters the series with 190 hits, which trails Jose Altuve by two for the league lead. It also puts him in position to potentially become only the 12th hitter under the age of 23 to collect 200 hits in a season since 1900.

Yankees – Dustin Ackley

  • It’s amazing what a change in venue can do to revitalize a hitter’s career. Ackley was struggling to hit his own weight over 85 games with the Seattle Mariners, but he’s a .300 hitter since leaving Safeco Field for the hitter friendly Yankee Stadium. The 27-year old outfielder was once a top prospect that never quite panned out in Seattle, but the Yankees are now reaping the rewards of buying low on him. He’s been one of the team’s best hitters this month at .324/.350/.703, helping to carry an offense down the stretch that is full of struggling veterans.


Game One Winner – Red Sox

This will be Rodriguez’s last start of the season, so there may be some concern of him being on a strict pitch count. Expect him to be at his best while he is in the game, as he aims to wrap up his rookie season on a positive note. E-Rod has been lights out at night, posting a 1.90 ERA in night games. He also has no drastic home/road splits, so going into enemy territory won’t bother him. The last time he visited Yankee Stadium he held the Bronx Bombers to 2 runs over 7 innings. While he took the loss in that game, it was only because his offense failed to muster more than a single run to support him. That shouldn’t be a problem this time given that Nova has struggled against the Red Sox this year.

Game Two Winner – Yankees

Porcello has been much improved since his return from the disabled list last month, but it’s still hard to trust him against a Yankees team that still has a lot left to play for. He has lost his last two outings, including one where he was knocked around in Toronto. While he only surrendered 2 earned runs in his last start, he also allowed 12 base runners against a weak Rays lineup. Porcello dominated the Yankees in a 13-strikeout gem earlier this month, but now has to face them on the road, where he has been much less effective this season (5.96 ERA on the road).

Game Three Winner – Yankees

The days of Sabathia being the ace of the staff are long gone, but he’s actually been decent since the break, posting a 3.77 ERA over his last 62 innings. He probably won’t last more than 6 innings, but with a strong bullpen backing him up, he won’t need to go deeper than that. Miley has had a pretty good second half as well, but also struggles on the road. If both pitchers produce mediocre outings then this could come down to a battle of bullpens, which favors the Yankees.

Game Four Winner – Red Sox

Come on, you don’t really think Hill is going to lose his last start of the season before hitting free agent, do you? Not with the incredible run he’s been on over these last three starts. Hill has given up a total of only 3 runs over those 3 starts, including a complete game shutout his last time out. He’s bound to come back down to Earth at some point, but here’s hoping he has at least one more gem left in him.

More from BoSox Injection