In their last three games before the All-Star break, the Yankees will play a series from Friday to Sunday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. The Yankees have gone 8-8 in their last 16 games, but the Red Sox, who looked like they would stay in last place a few weeks ago, have gone 11-5 in their last 16 games and have won five of their last six games.
Boston (41-45) is now 5.5 games behind the Yankees (46-39) for first place in the AL East after being 10 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for first place in the division 20 days ago. Even though the Yankees have a three-game lead over the Baltimore Orioles in the division, this series is so much more important than one would have thought three weeks ago because if the Red Sox, whose offensive has started to hit like they are capable of, sweep the series they will only be 2.5 games out of first.
The Yankees are coming off of a series when they won two out of three games against the Athletics. Their starters both allowed two earned runs in their two wins over Oakland, and Michael Pineda will look to continue the momentum tonight when he takes the mount in Fenway. The Yankees offense has been much better than it was the previous two seasons, and then will look to continue to hit well at Fenway against the Red Sox pitching staff, who have the worst team ERA in the league.
Pineda is coming off of a start on July 4 when he had full command of his pitches as he threw seven shutout innings at Yankee Stadium against the Rays. He has bounced back well from allowing eight runs in 3.1 innings to the Phillies on June 22, as in his start on June 28 he only allowed two earned runs in eight innings while striking out eight. Pineda has a somewhat high 3.79 ERA this season, but he has held the opposition to two earned runs or less in 10 of his 16 starts this season.
The Red Sox offense has really improved recently since they have scored five runs or more in five of their last six games, which includes games where they scored 12 and eight runs.
In Friday’s game, Cole Figueroa, who hit two doubles in his Yankees’ debut on Thursday, will start at third instead of Chase Headley for the second consecutive game, and Garrett Jones will get the start in right field.
Red Sox starter Clay Bucholz has been outstanding in his previous four starts as he has allowed one, one, one and zero runs respectively.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Boston:
RHP Michael Pineda (8-5, 3.79)
RHP Clay Buchholz (7-6, 3.27)
7:05 p.m., WPIX and MLB Network
RHP Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.65)
LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.69)
7:05 p.m., FOX
RHP Nathan Eovaldi (8-2, 4.45)
LHP Wade Miley (8-7, 4.50)
1:05 p.m., YES Network and TBS