Grab the popcorn, pull up a chair and maybe brush up on your karate because the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are at it again this week with a three-game series in the Bronx starting Tuesday night.
While there is always a little extra attention set on the best rivalry in Major League Baseball, regardless of how either team is performing in the standings, the second matchup of the 2018 season between these two sides is an absolute doozy.
The Red Sox (25-9) and Yankees (24-10), hold the best records in Major League Baseball, New York trailing Boston by a single game in the American League East. This is the latest point of an MLB season in which both the Yankees and Red Sox have a winning percentage over .700.
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The division leaders have used winning streaks of nine and eight games respectively to get off to their best start in franchise history, which has spanned 118 years.
A stretch in which they dropped seven of 12 games dating from Apr. 21 to May 6 did slow things down, but Alex Cora and Co. have steadied things after sweeping a three-game series from the Texas Rangers over the weekend.
They have an explosive offense which ranks second in the majors in team batting average to thank for their start. Boston's lineup contains four players with batting averages of .333 or higher, but Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez have been the engine fueling the Red Sox.
Betts is slashing .355/.434/.818 with 13 home runs and 26 RBI through 30 games while Martinez, brought on via free agency this offseason, is batting .349/.396/.619 with eight round-trippers and 27 RBI.
There is some concern surrounding Betts though as he is day-to-day with a shoulder contusion after being struck in the shoulder with a ball.
While the Red Sox have methodically built the league's best record over the first 34 games this season, the Yankees have been absolutely scorching as of late. The Pinstripes have put together their best stretch since 1980, winning 15 of their last 16 games to eliminate any concerns surrounding a mediocre 9-9 start.
In a lineup that features Giancarlo Stanton, who still has not completely shaken some horrific early-season struggles, the .198-hitting Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius has proven to be the most valuable bat in New York's nine. The Yankees shortstop is hitting .311 with 10 home runs and 30 RBI, all three of those numbers the best within the roster.
Good news for the Yankees is that they will avoid seeing Red Sox ace Chris Sale during this series. Instead, they'll see Drew Pomeranz (6.14 ERA) and David Price (5.11 ERA) in the first two games of the series before meeting Rick Porcello, who looks to have gained his 2016 Cy Young Award-winning form as he's started the season at 5-0 with a 2.14 ERA.
The Yankees will have the top of their rotation ready for the Red Sox, starting with Luis Severino, who is quickly becoming one of the best arms in the American League. The 24-year-old is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA but has had problems with Boston in the past with a 2-5 record and an ERA of 4.82. The inconsistent Masahiro Tanaka (4.39 ERA) and the seemingly ageless CC Sabathia, who has turned back the clock this year with a 2-0 start and 1.39 ERA, round out the Yankees' starting staff in the series.
Boston took two-of-three from the Yankees during their first meeting in April, which was headlined by a benches-clearing melee sparked when Joe Kelly hit Tyler Austin during the middle game of that series. Kelly was suspended six games while Austin was sidelined for five.
Just in case tensions needed to be any higher entering this May series at what will be a rowdy Yankee Stadium.
Here is how you can catch all the action:
Red Sox vs. Yankees viewing information
Dates, Time, TV:
May 8- 7:05 p.m. ET (YES Network, NESN)
May 9- 7:05 p.m. (YES Network, NESN, ESPN)
May 10- 7:06 p.m. (WPIX, NESN)
Live Stream: fuboTV