The Boston Red Sox were concerned about the state of their pitching staff during the first half, enough to make trades for Brad Ziegler and Drew Pomeranz during the All-Star break. The pitching looks just fine two games into the second half, and the Red Sox will try to ride their ace to a three-game series sweep when David Price takes the mound at the New York Yankees on Sunday.
Boston starting pitchers Steven Wright and Eduardo Rodriguez got plenty of support from their respective battery mates in the first two games of the series, with Ryan Hanigan homering in support of Wright on Friday and Sandy Leon belting a three-run shot among four RBIs to back Rodriguez in Saturday’s 5-2 triumph. Leon continues to earn himself more playing time with both his mastery of the pitching staff and his bat, recording multiple hits in five of his last seven games. The Yankees dropped two games under .500 with the losses and look more and more like a team that will be selling when the trade deadline rolls around on Aug. 1. New York will play four straight at home against first-place Baltimore after finishing up with Boston and then faces San Francisco, Houston and Tampa Bay before the deadline.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Red Sox – LF C. Young (15-Day DL, hamstring), RP J. Tazawa (15-Day DL, shoulder), RP C. Kimbrel (15-Day DL, knee).
Yankees – RP C. Mullee (15-Day DL, hand), 1B C. Parmelee (15-Day DL, hamstring).
WEATHER REPORT: It is expected to be a perfect night for baseball at Yankee Stadium in The Bronx. There is a chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon/early evening, but they should clear out in time for the evening start. Skies are expected to be clear and temperatures will be in the upper 80’s – with virtually no wind to impact play on the field.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH David Price (9-6, 4.34 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (6-2, 3.23)
Price is hoping to pick up right where he left off before the break, when he struck out 10 and scattered four hits over eight shutout innings against Tampa Bay. The former No. 1 overall pick reached double-digit strikeouts in each of his last three starts and has 140 k’s in 124 1/3 total innings. Price had a rough time in back-to-back starts against New York on May 1 and 7, allowing a total of 12 runs and 15 hits in 11 2/3 innings while notching just seven strikeouts.
Tanaka ended his first half on a sour note, getting ripped for seven runs – three earned – and 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings at Cleveland on July 10. The Japan native is having some trouble finding consistency with three runs allowed or fewer in three of his last six starts and a total of 18 allowed – 14 earned – in the other three. Tanaka surrendered two runs in 6 2/3 innings at Boston on April 29 and is 4-2 with a 4.79 ERA in eight career starts against the division rivals.
* Red Sox are 7-1 in their last 8 games vs. a right-handed starter.
* Yankees are 1-7 in their last 8 vs. American League East.
* Yankees are 7-1 in Tanaka’s last 8 home starts.
* Under is 8-1 in Price’s last 9 starts overall.
* Under is 6-0 in Tanaka’s last 6 starts vs. American League East.
* Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in New York.
COVERS CONSENSUS: The Covers public is favoring the road favorite Boston Red Sox at a rate of 60 percent and Over 7.5 is picking up 63 percent of the totals wagers. View full consensus data here.