The battle for the American League East continues this week as the Red Sox and Yankees get set to play a four-game series at Fenway Park. The teams have already played nine this season, with the Yankees holding a 5-4 edge.
The teams most recently squared off just over a month ago at Yankee Stadium, with the Red Sox dropping two out of three in a series that was nowhere near as compelling as some hoped it would be. The Yankees won a pair of games by a total score of 19-2, while the Red Sox won, 8-0.
Game 1, Thursday, 7:10 p.m.: Brian Johnson (1-3, 3.45) vs. CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.53)
Johnson, getting the start in place of Chris Sale (disabled list), is 1-1 with a 1.80 ERA in six starts. Sabathia allowed just one run over seven innings against the Red Sox on June 29, but has gone just 21⅓ innings over four starts since, with his ERA steadily rising.
Game 2, Friday, 7:10 p.m.: Rick Porcello (13-4, 4.03) vs. Luis Severino (14-4, 2.94)
The Red Sox have won six of the last seven games Porcello started. Severino has dropped his last two decisions, and has seen his ERA increase by nearly one full run since defeating the Red Sox on July 1.
Game 3, Saturday, 4:05 p.m.: Nathan Eovaldi (4-4, 3.80) vs. TBA
In his first start for Boston, Eovaldi pitched seven scoreless innings as the Red Sox defeated the Minnesota Twins, 3-0.
Game 4, Sunday, 8:08 p.m.: David Price (11-6, 4.17) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (9-2, 3.84)
Price has pitched well in both of his starts since the All-Star break, getting the decision in a 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers, then allowing just one run in eight innings of a 2-1 win over Philadelphia. Tanaka has not allowed a run in his last two starts, including a 4-0 complete-game shutout of Tampa Bay July 24.
Players on both teams are among the American League leaders in several categories. Here’s a look at who they are and where they rank.
Batting average — 1. Mookie Betts, .338; 3. J.D. Martinez, .323
Home runs — 1. Martinez, 32; 6. Aaron Judge, 26; 8. Betts 25; 10. Giancarlo Stanton 24.
Runs batted in — 1. Martinez, 89; 10. Xander Bogaerts, 65.
Wins — 1. Severino, 14; 2. Porcello 13; 7. Price, Eduardo Rodriguez 11.
Earned run average — 1. Sale, 2.04; 9. Severino, 2.94.
Strikeouts — 1. Sale, 207; 6. Severino, 157.
|Runs/Game||5.25 (1)||5.20 (2)|
|Average||.268 (1)||.257 (3)|
|OBP||.335 (1)||.333 (2)|
|Slugging||.455 (2)||.458 (1)|
Players to watch
Martinez — The DH has delivered in his first season with the Red Sox and is a contender for league MVP.
Betts — The right fielder is also putting up MVP-type numbers at the leadoff spot.
Price — It’s been an up-and-down season for the lefty. The last time he faced the Yankees, he was knocked around for nine hits and eight runs in just 3⅓ innings of an 11-1 loss.
Stanton — Acquired via trade in the offseason, the slugger struggled initially but is delivering the power expected of him.
Severino — The Yankees ace leads the league with 14 wins and is in the conversation for the Cy Young Award.
Miguel Andujar/Gleyber Torres — The two Rookie of the Year candidates have added more punch to an already potent Yankees lineup.
Bogaerts — It’s difficult to consider Bogaerts as unheralded, but given the plethora of talent at shortstop around the league (he wasn’t named to the All-Star team), and the attention Betts and Martinez receive, Bogaerts flies under the radar.
Didi Gregorius — Judge and Stanton may garner a lot of attention for their exploits with the long ball, and the rookies are certainly raising eyebrows, but Gregorius is quietly having another solid season for New York.
May 25 — Hanley Ramirez designated for assignment.
June 2-3 — After dropping first two games of four-game series at Houston, Sox take next two to salvage split with World Series champs.
July 2-12 — Sox bounce back after losing two of three in New York with 10 wins in a row.
April 21-May 9 — Won 17 of 18 to climb back into AL East contention.
June 22-24 — Swept by Tampa Bay on the road.
Both the Red Sox and Yankees made moves leading up to the trade deadline.
The Red Sox added Ian Kinsler from the Angels to shore up second base, and Eovaldi, who has been inserted into the rotation and could remain there for the postseason, or work out of the bullpen. They also traded for infielder Steve Pearce in late June, allowing him to face the Yankees in New York.
The Yankees traded for lefty reliever Zach Britton from the Orioles and righthander Lance Lynn from the Twins.
Missing in action
Some key members for both teams will be unavailable this weekend. For the Red Sox, catcher Christian Vazquez is out after undergoing surgery to repair a broken finger July 9. Third baseman Rafael Devers is on the 10-day DL with a left hamstring strain. Sale was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday with shoulder inflammation.
The Yankees will be without Judge, who sustained a fractured right wrist when he was hit by a pitch last week. Catcher Gary Sanchez is also on the DL with a strained right groin. J.A. Happ, acquired from the Toronto Blue Jaus, was put on the 10-day DL on Thursday.
Follow Andrew Mahoney on Twitter @GlobeMahoney