NEW YORK YANKEES
at BOSTON RED SOX
First pitch: Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET
Line: N/A, Total: N/A
The Yankees will be hoping to pick up a much-needed victory when they take on the Red Sox on Sunday.
The Yankees are currently chasing the Red Sox in the AL East, and these games are all extremely important moving forward. This was already one of the most heated rivalries in all of sports, but the fact that these teams are both relevant makes it a whole lot better. Every win for either of these teams will seriously impact the standings, so there will be plenty of intensity in this Sunday night matchup. The starters in this game are set to be RHP Masahiro Tanaka (7-8, 5.47 ERA, 103 K) for New York and LHP David Price (4-2, 3.91 ERA, 50 K) for Boston. Both guys have been aces in the past, but they are far from the pitchers they once were. Tanaka has really struggled this season, and itís actually been a serious grind for him all year. Price, meanwhile, started slow, but he has gotten himself going a bit as of late. Heading into the break, the lefty was in a serious groove. There are, however, some injuries worth pointing out for New York. One of those is that 1B Greg Bird (Foot) is still not back with the team. That forced New York to acquire 1B Garrett Cooper from the Brewers over the break. OF Aaron Hicks (Oblique), meanwhile, is also out for the time being for New York.
In his last start before the All-Star break, Masahiro Tanaka allowed five earned runs in only 4.1 innings of work in a home start against the Brewers. The righty allowed two homers in that game, and he has allowed none in his previous three starts. All of those outings were excellent, and Tanakaís inconsistency was a huge problem in the first half of the year. Heading into this season, Tanaka was as reliable as they come for New York. The team will be hoping that he can find a way to correct his mechanical issues for the second half of the year. Offensively, keep an eye on both OF Jacoby Ellsbury and SS Didi Gregorius in this game. Ellsbury is 27-for-77 with six doubles, two triples, one homer, and seven RBI against Price in his career. He has had no trouble getting to the lefty. Gregorius, meanwhile, is 12-for-24 with a homer and five RBI against Price. He was also hot heading into the break.
The Red Sox have got to be pleased with the way David Price was pitching heading into the All-Star break, and Price will definitely be hoping that he can keep it up starting Sunday. The lefty had allowed three or fewer earned runs in six straight starts before the break, and he even struck out 21 batters over his three most recent outings. His stuff isnít quite the same as it once was, but he still knows how to get the job done. On offense, OF Hanley Ramirez could do some damage here. Hanley has homered twice off of Tanaka in his career, and a long-ball could be exactly what he needs in order to get himself going. He had a rough first half of the season, but all will be forgotten if he helps the Sox win the division.