Red Sox vs. Yankees Series Preview: Rivalry renewed

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 08: Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after the victory against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on April 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 08: Craig Kimbrel #46 of the Boston Red Sox celebrates after the victory against the Tampa Bay Rays at Fenway Park on April 8, 2018 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images) /

The Boston Red Sox will take on the Evil Empire at Fenway for the first time this season in a three-game series.

The most heated rivalry in sports will take center stage of the sports world for a three-game series this week. The Boston Red Sox (8-1) will battle the New York Yankees (5-5) at Fenway Park on Tuesday.

The Red Sox have gotten off to a historic start, battling through adversity to fend off the pesky Rays for six of their eight victories. While the offense has been stagnant at times, the Red Sox have put together clutch at-bats late in games to capture comeback victories.

Xander Bogaerts, Hanley Ramirez, Mookie Betts and Rafael Devers have hit at a high level to start the season, but the rest of the Red Sox bats are still shaking off winter.

While the bats are beginning to warm up, the starting pitching has been red hot. David Price has yet to give up an earned run this year, Rick Porcello looks like he may return to 2016 form, and Chris Sale hasn’t earned a win yet despite giving up one run on the season.

The Yankees have struggled to find consistency. One game they’re mashing their way to victory, the next game their bullpen is collapsing. One consistency they’ve seen is prized acquisition Giancarlo Stanton continues to struggle at the plate. Stanton became the first player in the live ball era to go hitless and strike out five times in a game twice in a season. Yikes.

The rivalry is renewed in 2018 with both teams fielding elite rosters. The Red Sox lead the division and are ahead of the second place Blue Jays by 2.5 games, while the Yankees sit 3.5 behind. The Sox will battle the Pinstripes for first place on the young season, the Red Sox are 981-1180 all time against the Yankees.

With the hype behind both teams through the roof, there certainly will be plenty of drama. Both teams want to one-up each other and set the tone for the season. Expect some fireworks.

Pitching Matchups

Tuesday, April 10 at 7:10 PM – Chris Sale (0-0, 0.82 ERA ) vs Luis Severino (2-0, 1.38 ERA)

Wednesday, April 11 at 7:10 PM – David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 2.92 ERA)

Thursday, April 12 at 7:10 PM – Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84 ERA) vs TBA

Series Notes

  • While Sale is just 4-4 in 12 starts against the Yankees in his career, he has a 1.81 ERA and .193 opponents batting average against them. He’s looking to continue that success to earn his first victory of the year.
  • The Red Sox haven’t figured out Severino at Fenway Park. Severino was dominant in two Fenway Park starts in 2017, allowing just one run on seven hits in 14 innings.
  • Tanaka has also been very solid for New York at Fenway Park. In his past four starts, Tanaka has allowed six runs in 30 1/3 innings.
  • Price will need to continue his 2018 excellence if he wants to break a bad trend against the Yankees. He’s 15-11 with a 4.36 ERA against them in 37 starts.
  • In 18 career starts against the Evil Empire, Porcello is 8-8 with a 3.27 ERA.
  • Andrew Benintendi only has five hits this season, but he leads the team with nine walks. Despite not making great contact, his plate disciplined has greatly improved.
  • Perhaps sliding under the radar is Devers’ hot start. The young third baseman is hitting .323 and tied for the most RBI on the team with Bogaerts.

Three Keys To Victory

  • Starting pitching: The Red Sox have had exceptional starting pitching performances to start the season, and have a chance to send a message to the rest of baseball by blanking the Yankees. After being shrugged off for shutting down the Marlins and Rays, the Red Sox starters will face one of the best offenses in baseball. Sale, Price and Porcello have a chance to show us they’re for real if they can limit the damage done by the Yankees.
  • Bullpen: The bullpen has had its share of ups and downs through nine games. In fact, if it wasn’t for an Opening Day implosion, the Red Sox would be 9-0. Magnifying the ‘pen woes, is Han Ram’s late-inning performances. If it weren’t for him, the Red Sox may be 6-3. Craig Kimbrel has been dominant to start the season, but can Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Carson Smith be trusted in high leverage situations? This series will tell us a lot about the bullpen.
  • Offense: Obviously the Red Sox have to score runs to beat the Yankees. However, if Bogaerts’ ankle injury is serious — his status for this series is in doubt — the rest of the starting lineup must catch fire to compensate for the loss of his bat. Eduardo Nunez, J.D. Martinez, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Benintendi must all have an impact on this series. The Red Sox can’t afford to have half of their lineup stay cold.
  • Bonus key: Ramirez, Betts and Devers must continue to rake and set the tone for the rest of the order. If the trio can produce at a high level early in the series, the rest of the lineup will blossom behind them.

Next: Red Sox: Epic comeback shows Red Sox not same team as 2017

Check back with BoSox Injection prior to the start of every Red Sox series this season for our preview!