BOSTON RED SOX (76-57)
at NEW YORK YANKEES (70-62)
First pitch: Thursday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Boston +110, New York -120, Total: 9.0
The Yankees will be hoping to get back on track and also back into the race for the AL East with a win over the Red Sox on Thursday.
The Red Sox are currently running away with the AL East and the Yankees getting swept by the Indians certainly didnít do much to change that. New York is really struggling right now and is going to find itself in some serious trouble if it loses this four-game series. The Yankees can very easily fall out of the top spot in the wild card standings, which would be absolutely unacceptable after New York was a buyer at the trade deadline. The Yankees will have a sweep on their minds when they take the field on Thursday, but that type of mentality just might do them in. They need to approach every game on its own and do their best to chip away at Bostonís lead in the division. Itís not going to go away overnight. The starters in this Thursday night matchup are going to be LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 4.19 ERA, 114 K) for Boston and LHP CC Sabathia (10-5, 3.82 ERA, 90 K) for New York. Rodriguez has struggled recently for Boston and Sabathia has been great for New York. Sabathia is, however, capable of getting roughed up on any given night, so itís not necessarily a huge edge on the mound for the Yankees here.
The Red Sox have been one of the best teams in the American League in the second half of the season and theyíll now hope to separate themselves from the Yankees for good this weekend. If they can take three or four of these games from the Yankees then it will be very tough for New York to ever climb back into the top spot of the division. That is why it is important that Rodriguez comes ready to perform at a high level. He was excellent the last time he faced the Yankees in New York, as he threw six innings of shutout ball and struck out seven batters in the process. If he can turn in another performance like that then it would be huge for Boston. He has, however, allowed 12 earned runs in his past 17.2 innings of work. He gave up seven or more hits in two of his past three starts and that canít happen again on Thursday. On offense, the Sox will be looking to OF Mookie Betts for a spark. He has had a disappointing season at the plate, but he is also 7-for-20 with a double and two RBI against Sabathia in his career. It wouldnít be shocking if he takes him yard for the first time in this one.
The Yankees were awful in their four-game series against the Indians and you can probably safely assume that they were looking ahead to this series too much. They know that they needed to take three or four from Boston in this one, but they also took themselves right out of it by getting swept by the Indians. Now they almost need a sweep in order to stay alive in the AL East race. The good news for New York is that Sabathia will be on the mound in this one. The lefty has been excellent this season and will now do everything he can to shut down Boston here. In his most recent start against the Sox, Sabathia allowed just two earned runs in six innings of work on Aug. 19. The Yankees would definitely sign up for that again. And on offense, one guy to keep an eye on for New York is SS Didi Gregorius. He is 7-for-22 with two doubles and an RBI against Rodriguez in his career and that is better than anybody else on the team has done against the lefty.