Red Sox to face Yankees in battle for first place
With first place in the AL East on the line, the Boston Red Sox will travel to New York to take on the Yankees for a three-game slate of balanced match-ups this weekend.
The Red Sox currently sit atop the AL East with a 32-22 record. The Yankees are one game behind.
New York has faltered a bit as of late, including losing three straight games to the New York Mets in interleague play. Meanwhile, the Red Sox lost two straight games against the Philadelphia Phillies and are also looking to get back on track.
The Yankees have produced a little less offensively so far this year than in the past with a team batting average of .249. But the Yankees pitching is holding them up with a combined ERA of 3.68, good for second in the American League overall, and an AL-best 3.35 ERA in May. The Yankees struggled to keep runners off the basepaths early in April, with opposing hitters batting .273 during that time, but they have improved since then, letting opposing players only hit .239 in May.
Boston’s pitching hasn’t had as much success lately, with a 4.05 combined ERA in May. But in May, the Red Sox saw some help from its offense, led by second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who hit .333 in the month of May despite a ligament tear in his thumb, and designated hitter David Ortiz, who cranked six home runs in May.
Friday’s game has Jon Lester matched up against New York’s CC Sabathia. Lester has had a successful start to the season, with a 3.34 ERA and a 6-1 record in 11 starts, but he will be looking to pitch a bit sharper than he’s been in recent games. Lester’s last outing was a 7-4 win over Cleveland in which he allowed 10 hits and four runs in seven innings. Sabathia hasn’t been too shabby either with his 3.96 ERA, but he was abysmal in his first outing against the Sox, allowing four runs on eight hits through five innings on Opening Day.
Boston’s Felix Doubront will face Phil Hughes Saturday. Doubront is 0-2 through five games in May, but his only truly terrible showings came in his first two starts of the month. Since then, he’s struggled to find run support. Hughes also has run support issues in recent outings, but he’s hit rough spots on the mound as well. In mid-May, Hughes lasted just 2/3 of an inning in a game against the Mariners, allowing seven runs on six hits and two walks in the first inning.
Sunday will feature a matchup between Ryan Dempster and Hiroki Kuroda as the Red Sox try to decipher Kuroda’s ERA of 2.39, fourth-best in the AL. The 38-year-old has allowed two runs or fewer in four of his five starts in May. Dempster, meanwhile, has earned losses in four of his last five starts while posting a 6.41 ERA in that time.
The Sox lost two of three in the season-opening series against the Yankees.
Who do you think will win this weekend’s series? Let us know in the comments below.