After losing two out of three games to the Detroit Tigers and then two out of three to the Toronto Blue Jays, the Yankees will now play their last series at home against the Boston Red Sox. This will be Derek Jeter’s final series at home against the rival Red Sox before ending the season with three games in Boston.
The Yankees will have to sweep the Red Sox to have a chance at having those three games to end the season be meaningful. They still have a slim chance at getting the second wild-card spot as they are currently four games behind the Detroit Tigers with 27 games to play. They are tied with the Cleveland Indians and are 2.5 games behind the Seattle Mariners.
Boston comes into this series having lost six of their last 10 games. They have a negative 74 run differential and a drastically different rotation than they had in the middle of July. Jon Lester, Jake Peavy and John Lackey were all traded before the trade deadline as the Red Sox tried to rebuild their roster for next season. This has left their rotation filled with rookies and inexperienced pitchers besides the experienced Clay Bucholz. Also, their offense has struggled much more than it did last season since they have scored the 25th fewest runs in all of baseball and their .243 average is in 25th place in the league.
The Yankees, who also have a negative run differential despite their 70-65 record, are on pace to be the first team in major-league history to post back-to-back winning seasons while being outscored by at least 20 runs in each season. They currently have a negative 27 run differential, which means that their opposition has outscored them by 27 runs. A negative run differential would suggest that a team would be under .500, which proves that Joe Girardi has led the Yankees to actually overachieve as a result of all of their pitching injuries and offensive ineffectiveness.
Part of the reason that the Yankees have the record that the do the past two seasons despite their negative run differential is that they are 92-60 in games decided by two runs or less. That is the best record in Major League Baseball over the last two seasons. It helps that the bullpen has been a strength this season and last season.
Jacoby Ellsbury, who played for the Red Sox the previous seven seasons and was an All-Star once, has been the best offensive player in the Yankees lineup since August 24. Since the game on the 24th, he has 13 hits in 24 at-bats (.542), six runs scored, four homers, nine RBIs and three steals. Ellsbury sprained his angle when he was sliding into home during Friday’s win against the Blue Jays. He missed Saturday’s game and then was only able to pinch-hit on Sunday.
“It’s still sore, but over the last couple of days, they’re real happy with the progress that I’ve made,” Ellsbury said. “We’ve got the off-day, but I’ll get the MRI tonight and have our doctors look at it. Hopefully it’s a good MRI.” The Yankees, who only scored two runs combined in the last two games against the Blue Jays, need Ellsbury back in the lineup.
The Yankees should have the advantage in the series since they have better starting pitchers and if Ellsbury is back he should be able to help them beat his former team. The Red Sox offense has scored six runs combined in their last three games. Here are the pitching matchups for the series against the Red Sox.
Tonight at 7:05 p.m. on YES
RHP Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09 ERA)
RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 3.86 ERA with Boston)
Wednesday at 7:05 p.m. on YES
RHP Hiroki Kuroda (9-8, 3.88 ERA)
Anthony Renaudo (3-0, 4.50 ERA)
Thursday at 7:05 p.m. on YES
LHP Chris Capuano (2-3, 4.24 ERA)
Allen Webster (3-3, 6.69 ERA)
Webster will be making his 15th career start and Renaudo will be making his fourth start of his career. Kelly came to the Red Sox in the trade that sent Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals, and he had made 36 starts since 2012 with the Cardinals before the trade.