Justin Masterson

Weekend Preview: Red Sox vs. Yankees, Part 2

You want to know the real reason why Friday is the best day of the week?

It’s because you get to read another edition of Weekend Preview.

The Red Sox bounced back from a pair of tough three-game sets on the road with a series win against the Blue Jays at home, highlighted by a Mookie Betts walkoff and a strong start from Rick Porcello. The Sox follow that up with a Round 2 against their nemesis, the New York Yankees. The good news: Clay Buchholz isn’t slated to pitch.

New York Yankees Current Record: 13-9 Projected Record: 82-80

The Yankees are a much different team than when the two sides met at Yankee Stadium three weeks ago. New York has won 10 of its last 13 games and has a +29 run differential in that span. The Yankees have a top 10 TAv (.274) and team ERA (3.23), although PECOTA projects them to finish with a -8 run differential the rest of the way.


Justin Masterson vs. CC Sabathia – Friday, 7:10 p.m.

This is far from a premier pitching matchup, but Sox fans have to like the way Justin Masterson has pitched lately compared to his counterpart, CC Sabathia. After a disastrous outing against the Nationals on April 14, the right-hander responded with a pair of strong outings against the Orioles, allowing four combined runs over 12 innings. Masterson so far has been right in line with preseason projections, or perhaps slightly better in some categories. He’s third amongst Red Sox starters with a .299 BABIP, and his 3.54 FIP and 7.94 strikeouts per nine innings is right around his career averages.

Speaking of averages, Sabathia is probably missing the days he neared his own career numbers. In a matter of two years, the lefty has gone from being the Yankees’ ace to their worst starter. Sabathia has lost all four of his starts this season, with his worst coming last Saturday when he gave up seven runs on nine hits – and three home runs – over five innings in a loss to the Mets. He has a 5.96 ERA, a 4.04 FIP and is projected to finish with some of the worst numbers of his career.

Wade Miley vs. Nathan Eovaldi – Saturday, 1:35 p.m.

At this rate, it’s anybody’s guess which Wade Miley will show up on Saturday. Will it be the one who pitched 5.2 shutout innings in a three-hitter against the Rays? Or will it be the one who imploded against the Orioles on Sunday, giving up seven runs over 2.1 innings? One thing that’s for certain is the Sox need Miley to go deeper into games. For someone who has pitched over 200 innings the last two years, the fact that he’s yet to get out of the sixth inning, even in his good starts, is concerning. Miley is projected to finish with 168 innings pitched, which would mark a career low by almost 30 innings.

Eovaldi is coming off his worst outing of the young season after surrendering four runs on seven hits over 4.1 innings in a no-decision against the Mets on Sunday. Aside from Sunday’s start, the righty has been reliable for the Yankees this season, posting a 3.32 FIP through four starts. Eovaldi has given up seven or more hits in each of his starts this season, but is leaving runners on base at a 79 percent rate.

Joe Kelly vs. Adam Warren – Sunday, 8 p.m.

After a hot start to the season, Joe Kelly has come back to earth. He’s allowed five runs in each of his last two starts and hasn’t earned a win since his season debut against the Yankees in which dazzled over seven innings, giving up one run on one hit for the win at Yankee Stadium. One thing Kelly has done consistently well this season is strike batters out. He’s had seven strikeouts or more in three of his first four starts and is averaging 10.65 strikeouts per nine innings.

Adam Warren was strong in his last start, allowing one run on five hits against the Rays. However, as someone accustomed to throwing out of the bullpen, he’s also a guy who struggles to get deep into games. The righty’s tossed just 20.2 innings through four starts and is projected to pitch about 94 innings the rest of the way.

Opposing Lineup

As was noted in the preview of the two teams’ first meeting, the Yankees boast a ton of left-handed hitting. The Sox could see as many as eight lefties per game with this possible lineup over the weekend.

Jacoby Ellsbury – CF – L
Brett Gardner – LF – L
Alex Rodriguez – DH – R
Mark Teixeira – 1B – S
Brian McCann – C – L
Carlos Beltran – RF – S
Chase Headley – 3B – S
Stephen Drew – 2B – L
Didi Gregorius – SS – L

The Yankees have gotten a good mix of power between Mark Teixeira (eight home runs, .392 ISO) and Alex Rodriguez (five home runs, .275 ISO), and average from the likes of Jacoby Ellsbury (.377 BABIP) and Brett Gardner (.346 BABIP). Also, expect Chris Young to get in the lineup at some point during the series.

Stephen Drew, by the way, has four homers.


Here’s a simple breakdown of what I just wrote. Expect plenty of runs, some bad pitching and possibly the four-to-five-hour games you would normally expect from a Red Sox-Yankees series.

Photo by Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports Images

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