The Yankees have not played their best for quite some time now. Pitiful losses, subpar pitching performances, and ice cold bats have led the Yankees to lose much more often than they should. They have only won one of their last six series. They must now face Boston in one of their most fragile states all season.
The Yankees have endured some difficulties in facing the Red Sox this season. The rivals first faced each other back in April at Fenway. The Sox outscored the Yanks 27-14 in the three games. In the second game, Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin triggered a heated brawl that reignited some tension between the teams.
In May, the Sox came to Yankee Stadium, where the Yankees took two of three. Following the first game of the set, both teams were tied for first place, as the Yankees had completely erased Boston’s 7.5 game lead. Boston rebounded in the series finale, where they snapped the Yanks’ eight-game winning streak.
The Sox returned to the Bronx at the end of June for a three-game set. In the battle of outscoring (8-1 W, 11-0 L, 11-1 W,) the Yankees won two. CC Sabathia and Severino completely dominated, while Sonny Gray set the team up for failure before the third inning ended. Hicks’ three-homer game in the finale and an offensive eruption propelled the Yanks to another series victory. At this point, the battle for first place in the AL East was in full swing.
The Yankees traveled to Fenway for a four-game set in early August, which resulted in a sweep in possibly the most devastating series of the season. The bullpen fell apart in the opener, allowing a whopping 13 runs in 5.0 innings for a 15-7 final. From there, the offense simply could not rebound. Rick Porcello held the Yankees to just one hit in the second game, granting the Sox a 4-1 victory. The teams replicated this score the following night in another dominant Sox pitching performance, as Eovaldi held the Yankees to three hits. Chance Adams’ strong pitching debut could not help the team. In the finale, the Yankees came close to salvaging one game, as they led Boston heading into the bottom ninth. However, Aroldis Chapman allowed three runs, forcing extra innings. Andrew Benintendi’s walkoff single completed the sweep and left the Yankees nine games back.
Hope for the division seemed completely lost after this series, the team evidently disappointed by the results. As some weeks went on, the Yankees had gained some games on Boston, putting their focus on first place. However, a shaky couple of months and Boston’s historic run shifted the Yankees’ focus to the Wild Card.
Boston currently holds the best record in MLB. Their record is 103-47. A stacked lineup and quality pitching have led the Red Sox to be the best team in baseball for just about all of the 2018 season. The Yankees, on the other hand, have not played consistently and failed to win series against teams with poor and losing records. The Yankees still hold an impressive 91-58 record, but some must-win games that resulted in losses could have altered the outcome of it.
The probable pitching matchups for this series are as follows: on Tuesday, JA Happ (16-6, 3.75 ERA) will face Nathan Eovaldi (5-7, 4.22 ERA) in the afternoon opener. Luis Severino (17-8, 3.46 ERA) looks to expand on a strong start against David Price (15-6, 3.42 ERA). Masahiro Tanaka (12-5, 3.47) makes the start following his previous lights-out performance, while Eduardo Rodriguez (12-4, 3.53 ERA) takes the bump for the Sox.
Aaron Boone said that it is a possibility to have Aaron Judge play in the Red Sox series.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) September 16, 2018
The best thing the Yankees can do is ensure they are playing their best heading into the postseason. They are 5-8 against Boston this season. Performing well against them this week would give the Yanks a huge confidence boost heading into their final home series. The Sox are their biggest challenge, but the Yankees must get going soon if they are committed to postseason success.
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