There may be no greater rivalry in baseball than the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees, and the two teams are set to square off in a brief two-game stint starting Tuesday. Neither the defending champion Red Sox (6-11) nor the Yankees (6-9) have gotten off to quite the start they have been expecting but both will be looking to set things right as they battle at Yankee Stadium Tuesday and Wednesday.
For the Red Sox, they come into this one having just lost a laugher, 8-1, to the Baltimore Orioles. For the Yankees, who have been battling injuries left and right this season, they enjoyed a day off Monday after losing to the Chicago White Sox 5-2 on Sunday.
Tuesday’s matchup will feature Chris Sale (0-3, 9.00 ERA) taking on the Yankees’ James Paxton (1-2, 6.00 ERA). First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 6:35 pm ET.
The moneyline for Monday’s game is set at the Boston Red Sox -106 and the New York Yankees -104. The over/under for runs scored is set at 8.5.
Defending Champs Trying To Find Consistency
If there is such a thing as a World Series hangover, the Red Sox would be the prime example of it. At 6-11, they currently sit 4th in the AL East, just a half-game ahead of Toronto and a game back of the Orioles.
While it is far too early to be staring at the standings, there are some alarming early showings, none more so than the start of the season for Chris Sale. Sale has started off the season 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA, 1.54 WHIP and opponents are hitting .308 against him.
In 13 innings, Sale has allowed 16 hits, 13 earned runs, 4 home runs and, surprisingly, has only struck out 8 while walking 4. There are concerns that his velocity is down, although that may just be a result of being early in the season, but the performance has not matched the price of the extension he signed with the Red Sox. He will look to take advantage of a depleted Yankees’ roster on Tuesday.
Offensively, J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts have had nice starts to the season. Martinez is currently hitting .344/.417/.563 with a .979 OPS. He has 3 home runs, 9 runs batted in, 9 runs scored and has 7 walks and 7 strikeouts.
For Bogaerts, he is hitting .304/.403/.500 with 2 home runs, 8 runs batted in and 11 runs scored. In Bogaerts’ career against James Paxton, he is 2 for 8 with a home run and 3 runs batted in.
One player the Red Sox would like to get going is Mookie Betts. Thus far, Betts is hitting just .222/.324/.413. He does have 3 home runs, 7 runs batted in and 14 runs scored, but has also struck out 13 times thus far.
Yankees Trying To Overcome Early Injuries
Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Luis Severino, and Dellin Bestances are just a few of the names that are currently missing for the Yankees. They have been ravaged with injuries early on and their record is reflecting it. Still, no one is going to feel sorry for them and for all of their struggles, they may be catching the Red Sox at the right time.
Taking the mound for the Yanks on Tuesday will be James Paxton. On the season, Paxton is 1-2 with a 6.00 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and opponents are hitting .328 against him. In 15 innings, he has allowed 20 hits, 10 earned runs, 3 home runs while striking out 19 versus 6 walks.
In his last outing, an 8-6 loss to the Houston Astros, Paxton went 4 innings, giving up 8 hits, 5 earned runs, 2 home runs and 3 walks while striking out 5. Like the rest of his team, Paxton is hoping to find a groove starting Tuesday night.
Offensively, Aaron Judge has shown some decent power early on, hitting .278/.412/.519 with 4 home runs and 10 runs batted in. Still, while he has walked a team-leading 12 times, he has also struck out a team-high 21 times.
As a team, the Yankees have shown decent power. Aside from Judge, Clint Frazier has 3 home runs, as do Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner, while Luke Voit has 4 home runs.
But New York’s most consistent hitter has been newcomer DJ LeMahieu. The second baseman has hit .396/.455/.500 to start the season with 5 doubles, 7 runs batted in and 9 runs scored.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, no one has exactly shown consistent effectiveness against Chris Sale, so they will hope to get into Boston’s bullpen sooner than later.
Battle Of The Bad
On paper, these should be two juggernaut teams, but the way they have played thus far, this game could be ugly. Both Chris Sale and James Paxton are bonafide aces, but neither has shown that thus far.
Still, someone has to win, and for my money, I have to go with the team that is still mostly intact and that is the Red Sox. It helps that they have 9 players who are hitting .250 or higher in their careers against Paxton (albeit in limited at-bats).
While I am not sure that we will see vintage Chris Sale, I do think he will have an easier time navigating a weaker Yankees’ lineup. With the way these two have been playing it could be a crapshoot, but I am going to take the Red Sox at -106.