Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York
NEW YORK – The New York Yankees have fallen off a bit in the race for first place in the American League East while the Boston Red Sox were busy ripping off an eight-game winning streak. The Red Sox will try to make it nine in a row and increase their lead in the East to 5 1/2 games when they visit the Yankees for the opener of a three-game showdown on Friday.
Boston leads the AL with a 3.63 team ERA and watched its staff dominate of late, with three or fewer runs allowed in each of the last five games. “We’ve continued to pitch consistently, and that will be the key for us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell told reporters after an 8-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday. “The way that our starters are now stringing some games together, the run the bullpen has been on for really all year, and more so currently. We set the tone from the mound, and we’re going to have to continue to do that as we go into this next series.” Trying to continue that run of strong pitching on Friday will be left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who opposes New York newcomer Jaime Garcia. The Yankees dropped six of their last nine games to fall 4 1/2 behind the Red Sox and were shut out 4-0 on Thursday at Toronto.
TV: 7:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Eduardo Rodriguez (4-3, 4.08 ERA) vs. Yankees LH Jaime Garcia (5-8, 4.49)
Rodriguez recorded his first quality start in four chances since coming off the disabled list last Friday, when he held the Chicago White Sox to two runs and four hits in six innings. The 24-year-old Venezuelan did not factor in the decision in that turn and is looking for his first win since May 26. Rodriguez is seeing New York for the first time this season and is 4-1 with a 2.66 ERA in seven career starts versus the Yankees.
Garcia is getting his introduction to the rivalry and suffered the loss in his New York debut last Friday, when he was ripped for six runs – five earned – on five hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings at Cleveland. The 31-year-old is making his third AL start after beginning the season in Atlanta and getting traded to Minnesota before moving over to the Yankees. Garcia began his career with the St. Louis Cardinals but was hurt when they played Boston in the 2013 World Series and is seeing the Red Sox for the first time.
1. Red Sox OF Andrew Benintendi is 8-for-14 with five runs scored in the last four games.
2. New York All-Star RF Aaron Judge recorded at least one strikeout in each of the last 27 games.
3. Boston UTIL Eduardo Nunez is batting .420 in 11 games since joining the team and recorded multiple hits in eight of those 11 contests.