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Series Preview | Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees in a battle for first place

Ryan Leonardo

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CC Sabathia
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

After a sluggish six-game road trip, the Yankees return to the Bronx Friday for a key three-game weekend series against their longtime rivals, the Red Sox. The Yankees were swept by the Tampa Bay Rays but did take two out of three from the Philadelphia Phillies. The culprit was a sagging offense, as the Bombers scored just 17 runs during the trip. The Yankees own the best home record in the majors at 29-11 and also have the best record against left-handed starters at 18-5. They hope those trends continue against Boston’s lefty starters because their games against the Red Sox are undoubtedly the most important of the year. The Yankees want to avoid the one-game playoff in the Wild Card round and win their first division title since 2012.

In game one, CC Sabathia gets the start against Eduardo Rodriguez. Despite being in the twilight of his career, Sabathia owns a 3.18 ERA, his lowest since 2011, and a 4.19 FIP, his lowest since 2012. Despite the lack of length he gives in his starts, he is probably the Yankees second-best starter. Rodriguez is having a solid season for the Red Sox, with a 3.86 ERA and a 3.54 FIP. He is striking out a career-high 10.14 per nine innings and the Red Sox are a sparkling 13-2 in the games he has started. He has put up some of the best numbers in his career against the Yankees, posting a 2.70 ERA in ten starts.

Sonny Gray gets the start in game two. The story of Gray’s home and road splits have been well-documented. He has a 7.22 ERA in seven starts at Yankee Stadium and a 3.28 ERA on the road. He will be opposed by Boston’s ace, Chris Sale. The hard-throwing lefty is having another excellent season, posting a 2.56 ERA and striking out 12.63 batters per nine innings. He has made six starts against the Yankees with the Red Sox. In those games, he has a 2.48 ERA in 40 innings and 58 strikeouts.

In the series finale, Luis Severino gets the assignment. Severino has firmly entrenched himself as one the game’s elite, his 4.2 fWAR is second-best in the majors, behind Washington’s Max Scherzer. He has a 2.10 ERA and 2.21 FIP. The Yankees have won 15 of his 17 starts. David Price gets the start for the Red Sox and has struggled mightily against New York, registering a 7.24 ERA since 2016, his first year in Boston.

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