Steve Pearce will make his Boston Red Sox debut Friday night against the New York Yankees, a team he’s had a lot of success against.
Pearce arrives following a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays last night. The 35-year old veteran has been limited to only 26 games this season but has been quite productive when he’s on the field. Pearce hit .291/.349/.519 for the Blue Jays this year.
The Red Sox will waste no time getting their new bat in the lineup. He’s batting in the cleanup spot and playing first base in place of Mitch Moreland.
The addition of Pearce comes at an opportune time as the Red Sox get set for a pivotal series against the New York Yankees. Pearce has spent the better part of the last seven seasons rotating between various teams in the AL East, so he’s familiar with the Yankees. He even spent a brief portion of the 2012 season in pinstripes.
Part of Pearce’s appeal is that he’s thrived against New York. He’s hitting .281 with a .897 OPS and 10 home runs in 55 career games against the Yankees. Pearce has been even better in Yankee Stadium, hitting .299 with a .975 OPS and eight home runs in 31 games.
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Pearce fills one of Boston’s greatest needs for a right-handed bat who can crush lefties. He’s hitting .264 with a .840 OPS, .360 wOBA, and 127 wRC+ against left-handed pitching in his career.
His team debut will give Pearce the chance to show off two of his best traits against Yankees southpaw CC Sabathia. Boston’s new bat is 9-for-33 (.273) with a .848 OPS, two doubles and two home runs against Sabathia.
No wonder the Red Sox want him in the lineup right away. Putting him in the heart of the order out of the gate is a bit of a surprise. However, it’s warranted given his success against this pitcher and in this stadium.
We should get used to seeing Pearce in the lineup when the opposition sends a lefty to the mound. It won’t always be at Moreland’s expense, as Pearce can also play the outfield. Boston is a middling 15th in the majors with a .730 OPS against lefties. There are several players they could sit in order to get Pearce’s bat in the lineup against a lefty.
The Red Sox enter the series one game ahead of the Yankees in the AL East but one back in the loss column. It’s the last time these rivals will face off before the All-Star break.
Pearce will quickly emerge as a fan-favorite in Boston if he can do damage against the Yankees. He’s done it before and he’ll get his first shot to do it in a Red Sox uniform tonight.