Yankees need CC to set the tone for huge four-game set at Fenway Park
New York heads to Boston for huge four-game series with Red Sox.
After squandering a chance to gain a half-game in the American League East standings yesterday, thanks to yet another debacle from Sonny Gray, the New York Yankees invade Fenway Park for a four-game set against the Boston Red Sox. The Yankees currently sit 5.5 games behind the arch-rivals.
Get swept, and the Yankees will be 9.5 games back, losing basically all hope at a division title. Sweep the Sox and the Yankees would suddenly be just one and a half games behind. Let’s not go around expecting a sweep by either team however, these two teams are too closely matched.
CC Sabathia (6-4, 3.53) will take the mound in the series opener against LHP Brian Johnson (1-3, 3.45). This series will be about competition and execution. There may not be a starting pitcher on the Yankees that better represents fierce competition than the big veteran lefty.
This season against Boston, Sabathia is 1-0 with a 4.09 ERA through two starts. He has combined for 11 innings, 15 hits, five runs, one home run, a walk and 10 strikeouts. He is 7-5 with a 4.84 ERA in 18 career starts at Fenway Park.
Sabathia has a chance to set the tone for the important series if he can go out and keep the Boston lineup at bay, show some fight, and help get the young Yankees team fired up again. Of late, the Yankees at times appear to look somewhat lackadaisical. With a young, energetic roster behind him, maybe the veteran starter can ignite a fire.
New York gets a break in not having to face Red Sox ace Chris Sale nor Eduardo Rodriguez who are currently on the disabled list. Boston is also without third baseman Rafael Devers and may not have shortstop Xander Bogaerts for a game or two after he was hit by a pitch on Tuesday.
Of course, the Yankees are missing some big bats of their own. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are one the DL and won’t return to the club for at least a couple more weeks. Clint Frazier, who would have been very useful in Judge’s absence is also still on the DL with concussion symptoms.
If Sabathia is able to put together a solid outing and the Yankees can steal the opener, they would set themselves up for a great opportunity with Luis Severino, J.A. Happ, and Masahiro Tanaka schedule to follow in the rotation the rest of the series.
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