Welcome to the matchup that all Major League Baseball fans were cheering for. The greatest rivalry across all sports platforms will add another chapter starting on Friday night. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have the two best records in the American League and have played each other 19 times this season. The Red Sox will start ace Chris Sale and the Yankees will start Red Sox killer J.A. Happ in what is sure to be a phenomenal start to a historic rivalry. We now turn and look to break down the ALDS and the series that baseball fans have all needed.
Chris Sale will get the nod for the Boston Red Sox in a spot where he has to set the tone. The Red Sox ace has been just that in the regular season. He has been nothing short of fantastic, however, he has struggled in the playoffs. The combination of Sale, Price and Porcello in the postseason combine for a 0-11 record with an over 6.00 era. In other words, Game 1 is big for the confidence of the Boston Red Sox moving forward.
Sale is also a question mark. He sat out a good majority of September resting an arm that had soreness. He threw a few innings just to make sure that he was postseason ready, but the Red Sox just don’t how much or even what they will get from Sale. Sale pitched just 12 innings in four starts in September. He gave up five earned and walked one while striking out 18 in those 12 innings. All five of his runs came in eight innings against the Orioles and Indians. Sale has not pitched more than five innings since July 27. In other words. Sale hasn’t been “Sale” like in a while. He is the one clear advantage the Red Sox have and his game one performance has to prove that the three top pitchers on the Red Sox are more than the 0-11 their postseason record says they are.
On the opposite side, J.A. Happ looks to continue his success against the Red Sox. Happ has a 2.98 ERA in 21 appearances against the Red Sox. His record is 7-4 in those starts against the Red Sox. In two starts this season against the Red Sox for the Yankees, Happ has a 0.84 ERA. One of those games he was charged with five unearned runs due to a grand slam by Steve Pearce. There is no doubting Happ’s continued success against a potent Red Sox lineup.
The Big Differences:
The big advantage the Red Sox have is speed. The Red Sox nearly doubled up the Yankees this season in stolen bases. The Red Sox finished with 125 and the Yankees just 63. Both teams have tremendous power, but the Red Sox can also beat you with speed and baserunning.
The Yankees have a much better bullpen to take over late in games. The Yankees and Red Sox seem to have different strategies. The Red Sox look to get around seven innings from the starter on any given day so that they don’t have to use as many bullpen arms. The Yankees look to just get five innings from a starter. Anything after that is a bonus.
The Yankees bullpenAroldisndis Chapman, Jonathan Holder, Chad Greene, Zach Britton and Dillon Betances combined with their fifth starter Lance Lynn going into the bullpen creates a nightmare ending to a game for hitters. There are far more reliable arms in their bullpen compared to the Red Sox bullpen who have maybe three arms that they get consistent clean innings from.
Featured image from BigOnSports.com.
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