The Red Sox and Yankees will tangle for the final time in the 2017 regular season this weekend in the Bronx, with four games on tap – starting Thursday.
The Sox are 7-8 against their arch-rivals this season but hold a four-game lead in the American League East.
The Sox will send Eduardo Rodriguez (4-4, 4.19 ERA) to the hill in Game 1 of the all-important Labor Day weekend series, with the Yankees starting CC Sabathia. Sabathia has been a thorn in the Red Sox’ side this season as he is 3-0 against them. In those starts, Sabathia has given up an average of 0.66 runs, two total.
Sabathia clearly doesn’t appreciate the Red Sox or the city of Boston. Earlier this season, the big lefty said that he and other black players in MLB expect racism when they play at Fenway Park and added that he’d “never been called the ‘N word’ anywhere but in Boston.”
He also took exception with the Red Sox in the teams’ last series against one another as he pointed at the Boston dugout, voicing his displeasure with the team bunting on him early.
“To come out and that’s your strategy, that got me going a little bit,” Sabathia told the NY Post of the attempts by Andrew Benintendi and Eduardo Nunez. “Literally two of the hottest hitters in baseball bunting. If that was their strategy, I [handled] it.”
The Red Sox’ hottest pitcher of late, Doug Fister (3-7, 4.53 ERA), will get the ball for the Sox on Friday night. Fister threw a complete game at the Indians on Aug. 22 and followed that up with a seven inning gem in which he gave up just two earned runs in a 2-1 Sox loss to the Orioles this past Sunday.
The Yankees will counter on Friday night with Sonny Gray (8-8, 3.26 ERA).
Getting the ball for the Sox in a Saturday matinee (1 p.m.) in New York will be Drew Pomeranz (14-4, 3.23 ERA). In Pomeranz starts in the month of August, the Sox were a perfect 5-0. Two of those Boston victories came against the Yankees.
On Saturday, the Yankees will give the ball to Masahiro Tanaka (10-10, 4.69 ERA), who has also pitched tremendously of late.
Closing out the series on Sunday night will be ace Chris Sale (15-6, 2.77 ERA). Sale rebounded from two relatively ugly outings this week with authority as he threw seven shutout innings at the Blue Jays in a 3-0 Boston victory.
The Yankees will start Luis Severino (11-6, 3.14 ERA) in the Sunday nighter.