Red Sox look to expand lead on Yankees this weekend

BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: The Boston Red Sox high five each other after a victory in game two of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JULY 16: The Boston Red Sox high five each other after a victory in game two of a doubleheader against the New York Yankees at Fenway Park on July (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The Red Sox could expand upon their 4.5 game lead over the Yankees this weekend. Could Boston sweep the Yankees in the Bronx?

The Boston Red Sox head into the Bronx riding an eight-game winning streak after sweeping the Rays at Tropicana Field, pushing their lead over the New York Yankees in the division standings to 4.5 games.

Even though the Sox have a lead in the division, there are still ten games left in the season series, including this weekend’s games. The AL East is far from decided, and this series could be a turning point as to whether the Sox run away with the division or not.

While 4.5 games is a decent lead, we know it is not an insurmountable lead. However, if we win this series it would put us up by at least 6.5, which is a much safer lead. Despite our hot streak as well as the Yankees recent struggles, the team could easily snag two games from us if we aren’t at our best.

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Keeping Aaron Judge at bay will be the top priority for the pitching staff, but something that may fly under the radar on Friday night is Jacoby Ellsbury and his success against Red Sox starter Eduardo Rodriguez. In 19 at-bats against Rodriguez, Ellsbury boasts a .316 batting average which includes two home runs. With the short porch in right, Rodriguez will need to be careful not to allow history to repeat itself.

Jaime Garcia will face the flaming hot Red Sox offense coming off a horrendous debut with the Yankees where he allowed 6 Runs (5 earned) in just 4 ⅔ innings against the Indians. He has very limited history against the Red Sox, except for Eduardo Nunez, who has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball, so the unfamiliarity the Sox have against Garcia may prove in his favor. However, Garcia has struggled this season, posting a 4.49 ERA. With the Red Sox rolling, he’ll have to reverse his fortune to avoid a disastrous outing.

Nunez will look to continue his hot streak, as well as perhaps punish his former team and show them exactly what they are missing.He has matured into an amazing and versatile player, and I’m sure he’ll love a chance to ruin his new rival.

The Saturday afternoon game will pit the lefty Drew Pomeranz against the Bronx Bombers. He struck out eight against the lowly White Sox in his last outing and has been pitching very well his past few starts. The starter for the Yankees will be Luis Severino, who has been one of the league’s best starters. The middle game could be a turning point for either team before heading into the series finale.

Chris Sale will take the mound on Sunday night, coming off of a tremendous start. Tuesday’s 13 strikeout performance may have been his best of the year, which immediately followed his worst. He’ll look to further pad his Cy Young worthy season against Judge and the Yankees, and extend the clubs divisional lead against their rivals.

There is no doubt that this series could be a pivotal one, even with so many games left to play. The “dog days” of the summer can make or break a season, and so far the Sox are answering the bell and cementing themselves as postseason candidates.

Next: Catching up with Spaceman Bill Lee

The Yankees are not just going to go quietly into the wind, however, so putting as much distance between each other as possible could pay dividends, especially if the Sox experience another offensive outage like the one just after the All Star break.