NEW YORK YANKEES (79-70)
at BOSTON RED SOX (91-59)
First pitch: Sunday, 8:05 p.m. ET
Line: Boston -160, New York +150, Total: 8.5
The Yankees will look to avoid a sweep against the AL East-leading Red Sox when the rivals finish a three-game series on Sunday night.
Boston has won both games of this series rather easily, prevailing 8-4 on Friday and 5-1 on Saturday. New York entered this series with three straight wins, but is without SS Derek Jeter (ankle), who is done for the season, and speedy OF Brett Gardner, who could also miss the remainder of the regular season after straining his oblique on Thursday night. On Sunday, the Yankees send Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17 ERA) to the mound after the young righty was limited in his last start due to tightness in his triceps. To counter, The Red Sox, who are now 16-4 in their past 20 games, send out Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61 ERA), who might be having the best season in baseball if a shoulder injury didnít sideline him for three months. Boston holds a 29-25 edge over the past three years, though New York is 14-12 at Fenway Park in that span. This year, the Red Sox are 12-6 against the Yankees with a 5-3 record at home. New York has struggled on the road this season (35-39) while Boston has been quite dominant at home (49-25).
Nova (1.28 WHIP) was limited to 79 pitches in his last start while he dealt with his injury and gave up four earned runs in six innings against the Orioles. A model of consistency, heís given up three or fewer runs in 13 of his 17 starts this season, and has not allowed more than four runs in any outing. He now has 102 strikeouts and 38 walks in 119.1 innings with opponents hitting .257 against him and tallying only seven home runs. In his career, Nova is 2-2 with a 5.08 ERA and 1.60 WHIP in seven outings against the Red Sox, six of which were starts. On Sept. 5 against them, Nova gave up three runs in four innings, laboring through 96 pitches in that small window. His Boston nemeses during his career have been DH David Ortiz (5-for-14, 1 HR, 3 RBI) and 2B Dustin Pedroia (4-for-10, 2 doubles, 2 RBI). Sunday nightís matchup will be the last regular-season game at Fenway Park for Mariano Rivera, who has led a strong New York bullpen this year that has a 3.60 ERA overall and a 2.74 ERA on the road.
Buchholz (1.01 WHIP) has led the Red Sox to victory in 12 of his 13 starts in 2013. And he showed that he's healthy in his first start since coming off the DL last week, giving up just three hits and one walk with 6 K's in five scoreless innings of work. Now with 87 strikeouts and 30 walks in 89.1 innings of work, the right-hander has given up only two home runs all year and kept opponents to a pithy .194 BA. He has never fared particularly well against the Yankees though, going 4-5 with a 5.86 ERA and 1.66 WHIP in 11 career starts against them. He has baffled New York this season though, allowing just one run on eight hits over 12 innings (0.75 ERA, 0.92 WHIP) and holding the Bronx Bombers to a .190 BA. Buchholz will likely be on a pitch count again in this one, so there will be a heavy onus on the Boston bullpen, which enters Sunday with a solid 3.56 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in 2013.