This weekend could not be more important for the New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers have a vital three-game set against the Boston Red Sox after dropping two of three to the last-place Toronto Blue Jays, and anything less than taking two out of three from their rivals is unacceptable.
The problem, once again, has been New York’s offense. The Yankees lost 4-0 last night and 4-2 on Tuesday, with an 11-5 victory sandwiched in between. That inconsistency cannot happen this weekend, especially with a four-game set with the New York Mets to follow before another three-game series with Boston, only next time at Fenway Park.
New York has to get it together and fast.
The weekend matchups
On paper, the matchup this weekend easily favours Boston. The Red Sox are running hot to the tune of an eight-game winning streak and hold a 4.5 game lead over the second place Yankees.
It also helps that Boston has three of its best pitchers set to take the mound this weekend. They have young lefty Eduardo Rodriguez slated for tonight, the surprising Drew Pomeranz on Saturday, and likely AL Cy Young Award winner Chris Sale set for the Sunday night game.
The Yankees’ projected pitchers are not as inspiring. Newly acquired Jaime Garcia makes his Yankee Stadium debut tonight after allowing six runs (five earned) and walking four in 4.2 innings against the Cleveland Indians last week, followed by the impressive Luis Severino tomorrow and rookie Jordan Montgomery on Sunday.
Though each of the Yankees’ starters is talented in their own right and should not be written off, especially Severino, it doesn’t take rocket science to see that the pitching matchups favour Boston. It might as well be The Road Warriors vs The Spirit Squad, but even the latter group had its moment in the sun so perhaps there is hope for the Yankees yet.
There are a few aces up New York’s sleeve. First, the Yankees have won in both games that they have faced Chris Sale so far this year. The first was back in April on the back of an absolute 3-0 gem thrown by Masahiro Tanaka, and the second almost a month ago thanks to Boston’s bullpen blowing a 1-0 lead in the 9th inning.
Those two wins are all fine and dandy, but also make it all the more important that the Yankees play well against him on Sunday. Sale is a strikeout artist who has been phenomenal this season and holds an astounding 1.15 ERA against the Bronx Bombers. Yankees hitters are batting just .200 against him, so that will be a tough game.
New York has also lost the two games in which Pomeranz has pitched this year, though the most recent one was the fault of the bullpen. Rodriguez has not faced the Yankees this season.
That said, though it will be an uphill battle of epic proportions, I will go out on a limb and predict that the Yankees will take two out of three from the Red Sox this weekend. Losing a series to the last place team in the division has to be a wake-up call for New York, even if it’s just for the weekend, and being aggressive at the plate and on the pitcher’s mound is the approach that must be taken.
Boston is running so hot that the Yankees can’t be skittish and wait for the win to come to them. Instead, they must dare their rivals to keep the hot streak going into hostile territory and as long as they maintain that attitude, there is hope for taking two out of three.
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