Reduced to playing spoiler for the remainder of the season, the Boston Red Sox are in the midst of one of their best stretches of the season with their most bitter rival in town. The Red Sox closed out August by winning nine of their last 13 games and look to make it two straight victories over the visiting New York Yankees when the three-game series resumes Tuesday night.
Boston designated hitter David Ortiz is closing in on 500 career homers, needing five to reach the milestone after going 6-for-11 with three blasts over the past four games. Jackie Bradley Jr. collected three more hits in Monday’s 4-3 victory and is 26-for-61 with 20 runs scored in his last 19 games to raise his batting average from a feeble .121 to .277. The Yankees remain 1 1/2 games behind first-place Toronto in the American League East after stranding 14 runners Monday while seeing their three-game winning streak halted. Shortstop Didi Gregorius owns five-game hitting and RBI streaks during a torrid stretch in which he is 13-for-21 while homering twice and driving in 11 runs.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), NESN (Boston)
LINE HISTORY: The Red Sox have held steady at their opening number of +111. The total has opened at 9.0 runs.
Yankees – 1B M. Teixeira (questionable Tuesday, leg), LF D. Ackley (15-day DL, back), SP C.C. Sabathia (15-day DL, knee), RP D. Moreno (60-day DL, elbow), SP C. Whitley (60-day DL, elbow).
Red Sox – LF H. Ramirez (questionable Tuesday, shoulder), SP S. Wright (15-day DL, concussion), 2B D. Pedroia (Mid September, hamstring), SP B. Workman (60-day DL, elbow).
WEATHER REPORT: It should be a clear night in Boston, with a slight six mile per hour wind blowing out towards the Green Monster.
UMPIRE REPORT: Ron Kulpa will be the man calling balls and strikes in tonight’s contest. Kulpa is one of the better homer umps this season with home teams going 16-8 in his 24 games behind home plate. The over/under is 11-12-1 in those games and he has a strike percentage of 64.88.
HOT FAN WAR:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees RH Michael Pineda (9-8, 4.19 ERA) vs. Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (6-11, 5.47)
Pineda’s struggles continued in his first start coming off the 15-day disabled list, lasting only 4 1/3 innings and giving up five runs on six hits in a 6-2 loss to Houston. Pineda has dropped his last three starts while getting knocked around for 14 runs and has only one win in his last seven turns – at Boston on July 10. He continues to be susceptible to the long ball, permitting at least one homer in four straight outings.
Porcello turned in an outstanding effort in his return from the disabled list, tossing seven scoreless innings of five-hit ball to defeat the Chicago White Sox. It marked only the second win since May 16 for Porcello, who wobbled through a 12-start stretch by going 1-9 before he was placed on the DL. Porcello is 4-3 with a 3.90 ERA against the Yankees, but has been tormented by Jacoby Ellsbury, who is 11-for-17 with four homers.
* Yankees are 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Boston.
* Yankees are 8-3 in the last 11 meetings overall.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Boston.
* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings overall.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The majority of the public is backing the Bronx Bombers, with 68.84 percent of wagers on the Yankees at -120.