Red Sox weekend showdown has potentially season-lasting implications
The Boston Red Sox have an enormous three-game series this weekend against the Yankees that could have season-lasting implications.
The Boston Red Sox enter the day sitting 7.5 games behind the New York Yankees for first place in the American League East Division. This series is quite important for a number of reasons but most importantly, this series provides a chance for the Red Sox to move back within 4.5 games of the division lead, assuming they can sweep the three-game set. Even winning two out of three would be beneficial to the club because then they would be within 5 games in the loss column. This is well within striking distance.
However, if the Red Sox keep playing the way they have been, which has been wildly inconsistent, then things will not look good for the Red Sox moving forward as we inch closer to summer time.
Tonight it will be Chris Sale (1-6, 4.19 ERA) on the mound against J.A. Happ (4-3, 5.09 ERA ). This is going to be an interesting game because you have two lefties with vastly different stuff. Sale is more of a power pitcher and Happ is more of a groundball type, non-overpowering thrower. Happ will try to beat you with location and pitch placement.
According to Fangraphs, Happ is averaging 91.8 mph with his fastball. While this is still good speed, there is a noticeable difference when you are a hitter and someone is throwing 90 mph vs 95 mph. You will notice you have to be just a tad quicker with your swing and that can make a big difference.
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Saturday’s matchup will be a tough one as Eduardo Rodriguez (5-3, 5.04 ERA) will take on Domingo German (9-1, 3.43 ERA). German has presented problems to AL East hitters the whole season.
According to some statistics I found on ESPN, Boston has quite a bit of trouble with German. In a combined 16 at-bats against him, the Red Sox have only managed to collect 4 hits and 1 RBI. They have a disappointing .294 OBP against him. Not only is it hard to hit off of German, but it has proven difficult just to get on base against him.
On Sunday, if all things go as planned, Rick Porcello (4-4, 4.41 ERA) will take on CC Sabathia (3-1, 3.48 ERA) who has had success in his career against the Red Sox. Sabathia is 18-13 against the Red Sox in his career. Though he has a relatively high career 4.14 ERA against the Sox, he has a winning record as well as a decent career WHIP at 1.33 in 263 innings pitched against them.
Though CC has had a track record of success against Boston, the Red Sox are going to have to take a winning mindset into this series if they want to make some significant strides forward to close the gap on the division deficit they are currently facing.
Overall, I think the Red Sox are going to have to take a one game at a time approach in this series against the Yanks. Winning the series would be a great confidence boost for this team moving forward. I’d like to see the Red Sox show some consistency in all areas this weekend against a team that is turning on the heat going into the summer in the Yankees.