Ah, ’tis the season. Rivalry weekend is finally upon us once again, and at a perfect time. The Red Sox will make the four-hour trek down I-95 to E 161st Street in The Bronx to take on the New York Yankees on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night. It’s no secret that it’s a big series for both teams. The Red Sox cling to a meager one-game lead in the AL East over the Yankees, so every game matters. Both teams are absolutely loaded and firing right now, so it should be a slugfest.
The Yankees made one roster move for this series, but it’s a big one. They FINALLY called up Brandon Drury from AAA Scranton, ending his seemingly endless and pointless rehab stint with the minor league club. Drury has hit the snot out of the ball, batting .314 with 5 homers and 29 RBI for the RailRiders. Unfortunately for Drury, there just hasn’t been a roster spot for him up until now. I’d bet that either Neil Walker will be released, or Chasen Shreve will be sent down.
Drury has been getting reps at first base, and with the Sox throwing three lefties this weekend coupled with the struggles of Greg Bird, expect Drury to fill in at first in at least two of these games. Hopefully, his stay with the Yankees is long. He deserves an opportunity.
The Red Sox made two significant moves this week, one that will affect the series this weekend, and one that isn’t likely to have any weight to the series. The Red Sox traded for Steve Pearce, and signed Brandon Phillips to a minor league deal.
To acquire Pearce, the Red Sox sent SS Santiago Espinal to Toronto. Espinal is in A-ball, and is blocked at SS due to Bogaerts, so the Sox don’t really lose a lot here. Pearce is a 1B/OF batting .290 on the season, and has shown in years prior that he can hit. This move gives the Sox some flexibility with a lefty on the mound, as they could rest one of Mitch Moreland, Andrew Benintendi, or Jackie Bradley, and not have to worry about a hole in the lineup.
Phillips was acquired to play second base, although this is likely only an insurance move. The Sox already have Holt and Nunez with the big club, and Pedroia on the DL. If Pedey comes back, he’s the starter. Holt has played well, Nunez has not, but Phillips is likely just insurance if either of the two of them get hurt.
Who to Watch This Weekend
Well, it finally happened. Giancarlo Stanton is alive and very well. He got the ball rolling last with his “signature Yankee moment” walk-off bazooka to center field against Seattle, and has just looked better overall.
He appears to have opened his stance up a little, and the results have complied. He homered against the Rays, then had a 4-hit game in DC, hit two balls out against Seattle (almost had 3), proceeded to have a 5-hit game with an eighth inning home run in Tampa, and had himself a nice series in Philly.
Another thing that makes Stanton a player to watch this weekend is left-handed pitching. He’s batting .351 off of lefties with 10 home runs. On top of that, he has destroyed the Red Sox so far, with a .478 average, 2 home runs, and 7 RBI. With the Red Sox throwing three lefties, I’d be very surprised if he didn’t do some serious damage this weekend.
Jackie Bradley Jr.
Hold up…isn’t this the same dude that couldn’t hit water if he fell out of a boat?
Yes, you would be correct in thinking that. However, of late, JBJ has really come around. He hit .571 on the most recent homestand for the Red Sox, going 8-for-14 with 2 homers and 6 RBI. Having him heat up would be huge for the Sox, as Bradley has been a black hole for the majority of this season with his bat.
That being said, his glove isn’t going anywhere.
On this play here, I was up in the Coke Deck, and I thought for sure that the ball was ticketed for extra bases. JBJ said not today. At the very least, he brings his elite defense night in and night out.
JBJ has fared decently against Sabathia (.250), done poorly against Severino (.211), and has hit Sonny Gray well (.300). Look for him to keep his hot streak up in The Bronx.
Game 1: Eduardo Rodriguez vs CC Sabathis
This game is a toss-up. CC is elite at home, with a sub-3 ERA. Seemingly, he gives the Yankees a good start in every game they desperately need him to. Rodriguez has looked ok this season—locked in at times, and horrid others. He got roughed up a bit by the Mariners his last time out, and has been tough to read. But, he has fared well against the Yankees in his career, shutting them out for 6 innings in May.
I think the Yankees jump to an early lead, and before the Sox mount a comeback, it becomes a bullpen game, which the Yankees will win every time so long as they don’t throw Chasen Shreve. I’m taking the Bombers in game one.
Game 2: Chris Sale vs Sonny Gray
Don’t need to write too much here. Sale is a perennial Cy Young candidate, and Sonny Gray is downright horrific when he pitches in Yankee Stadium. Sox will roll early and take an easy one.
Game 3: David Price vs Luis Severino
This is a game that on paper, the Yankees should win in a landslide. Price has never pitched well against them in his career, and I can only remember one good start he has had versus the Yankees. One thing that should make Price happy is the absence of Gary Sanchez from the lineup, as Sanchez has DESTROYED Price throughout his short career. Nonetheless, the Yankee lineup is deep, and he will struggle in this one.
On the other side, Sevy has been Cy Young caliber this season, only chucking up one clunker against the Sox in April that I’m not gonna speak of again because that may have been the worst sporting event I have ever attended. Anyway…
Severino has been lights-out all year, and has fared ok against the Red Sox over his career. A lot of elite starts, but some bad ones, and a few “meh” ones With Price pitching for the Sox, “meh” should cut it. I think the Yankees bring out the big guns on Sunday Night Baseball, and win the game as well as the series.
But who knows. This is baseball, after all…
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