Following a bold prediction that David Ortiz would take home the All-Star MVP trophy, I decided to tone down the longshots and settle for the conservative assumption that the Boston Red Sox will open the 2nd half of the year with a series win in New York.
Heading into the latter part of a long 162-game season, the Boston Red Sox have had their ups and downs. While they remain runner-up in the division, only two games back of Baltimore, their standing in the AL East has fluctuated between top dog and middle of the pack, 87 games into the 2016 season.
As it pertains to the rival New York Yankees, they currently reside in 4th place in the division with an even record off 44-44.
Head-to-head the Red Sox own the lead in the season series 4-2. The first matchup came in Boston, where the Red Sox won a tight affair by a score of 4-2. They would go on to sweep the Bronx Bombers in the remaining two games to start the year against the bitter rivals off on a good note.
However, when the two sides would meet again in Yankee Stadium, the Bombers would defend their home turf. The Red Sox were held to just four runs in the first two games played in New York. In the opening game of the three game series, Boston totaled only two runs on 13 hits, while the Yankees six hits prevailed after an Aaron Hicks solo shot in the 7th. New York would go on to win 3-2.
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In the middle game of the series, the Sox were outhit and outscored as David Price suffered his first loss of the season. In the final game however, Steven Wright pitched a complete game gem, leading the team to a 5-1 victory.
Turning the attention to the upcoming series, the Red Sox could use a strong start to the second half of the year. While the month of June was extremely unkind to Boston heading into the All-Star break, they rebounded well in early July completing a sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays to carry a four-game win streak into tomorrow night’s game in New York.
The next game will feature All-Star Wright (10-5 2.68 ERA) on the hill matched up against C.C. Sabathia (5-6 3.77 ERA). Wright could possibly be carrying the slightest of chips on his shoulder for being left in the bullpen for the 2016 All-Star Game, so expect a dominant 8-9 inning appearance from the knuckleballer on Saturday.
In the series finale, Price (9-6 4.34 ERA) will face Masahiro Tanaka (6-2 3.23 ERA) as Price looks for his tenth victory with the new club.
This a perfect opportunity for a hot-hitting Boston squad to hit the ground running against a team stuck in between contending and rebuilding. Taking the series in Yankee Stadium against the rivals could give the Red Sox (especially the pitching staff) confidence that could carry them throughout July and into the dog days of August and September.