Red Sox: Chris Sale looks to continue dominance over New York Yankees
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox have the right guy on the mound in Chris Sale tonight as they look to even the series with the New York Yankees.
If the feud between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees has grown a bit stale in recent years, perhaps Chris Sale is the one who will reignite the flames of this bitter rivalry.
The new ace of the Red Sox rotation has been brilliant against just about every team, although no lineup in the American League has been silenced by the lanky lefty as much as the Yankees.
Sale is 4-1 with a sparkling 1.17 ERA over 10 career appearances against the Bronx Bombers. In 53 2/3 innings, he’s held Yankee hitters to a paltry .165 batting average and .481 OPS. This is a team that over the years has been loaded with feared sluggers such as Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, but when Sale took the mound against them he made the entire lineup look like the washed up 2016 version of those former stars.
More from Red Sox News
- Red Sox Nation deserves far more from Fenway Sports Group
- Bizarre trade deadline comes back to haunt Red Sox after Nathan Eovaldi departure
- Red Sox’ Moneyball-style offseason continues with Corey Kluber contract
- Rich Hill’s Red Sox departure puts him within striking distance of unique MLB record
- Red Sox offseason takes another nasty hit with Nathan Eovaldi departure
A few of those appearances against New York have come out of the bullpen, while his ERA against the Yankees as a starter stands at 1.25 over seven starts. Per ESPN Stats & Information, of the pitchers who have made at least seven career starts against the Yankees, Sale has the lowest career ERA against them.
Not that the Red Sox needed to be sold on how great Sale was when they were planning to trade for him last winter, but his dominance over the Yankees was certainly a nice bonus.
Tonight, Sale gets his first opportunity to face the Yankees in a Red Sox uniform. Wednesday’s loss dropped Boston two games behind New York in the loss column and three behind the division leading Baltimore Orioles. They’ll need a win to even this rain-shortened series and narrow the gap in the standings. Given his track record against the Yankees, you’d be hard pressed to find another pitcher that you would trust more than Sale in this spot.
We expect Sale to deliver on the mound. Now the only problem is whether or not a Red Sox offense that has been lackluster thus far can score enough runs for it to matter. Sale has easily been the front-runner in the Cy Young race so far after allowing a total of only three runs through his first four starts for a spectacular 0.91 ERA, yet his record stands at 1-1 because his offense has only provided him an average of 2.50 runs per start. That’s the fourth lowest run support in the American League and well below the 3.9 runs per game that Boston has averaged overall this season.
An encouraging sign in Boston’s favor is that they’ve had success against tonight’s Yankees starter, Masahiro Tanaka. The ace of New York’s rotation is off to a shaky start this season, entering tonight’s action with a bloated 6.00 ERA through four starts. The Japanese hurler has struggled at Fenway Park, where he owns a 4.34 ERA in five career starts. Perhaps Boston’s sputtering offense can get going against a familiar foe who hasn’t been at his best in their ballpark.
Is tonight the night that the Red Sox finally score some runs for Sale? We should temper our expectations, but at least we can feel confident that it shouldn’t take an offensive explosion to get a win behind their ace.