RED SOX (29-28) AT YANKEES (37-19)
7:15 p.m. ET; FOX, MLB.TV
After another big game by DJ LeMahieu, New York Yankees manager Aaron Boone offered a succinct explanation about his leadoff hitter.
“He’s out there to rip your heart out,” Boone said.
LeMahieu may not have quite ripped anyone’s heart out Friday, but he continued to produce in a season when the Yankees are missing numerous prominent names.
After opening their series against the Boston Red Sox with two clutch hits by LeMahieu, the Yankees can clinch a ninth straight series victory Saturday night at Yankee Stadium in the middle game of a weekend set against their biggest rival.
In New York’s 4-1 win on Friday, LeMahieu produced a game-tying double in the third inning and a homer in the fifth off Chris Sale. Those hits raised his batting average to .317 (second best on the Yankees) and gave him a .340 average (16-for-47) in his past 11 contests.
LeMahieu also has 20 multi-hit games, and his double gave him a .457 (21-for-46) average with runners in scoring position.
“That guy rakes,” New York center fielder Aaron Hicks said. “It just seems like he can hit any kind of location, any pitch. He’s able to battle. It just seems like he’s a tough out, and that’s what we thought when we got him, so he’s a huge asset to our team.”
LeMahieu’s productive night gave the first-place Yankees their 14th win in 17 games. They are 29-9 in their past 38 and sit 8 1/2 games up on the third-place Red Sox.
“Well, it’s early,” LeMahieu said. “We’ve been playing great baseball. I think we’re going to continue to do that. I don’t really look at the standings, but we’ve played really well so far.”
The Red Sox take a three-game overall losing streak into Saturday. They are 0-3 against the Yankees this year, having been outscored 17-4 in those contests.
“I know they don’t have their big guys, but what they have right now is good,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said.
The Red Sox dropped to 2-5 in their past seven games after being held to five hits and getting just one at-bat with a runner in scoring position Friday.
Boston third baseman Rafael Devers homered Friday, and he owns a .380 average (19-for-50) during a career-high, 11-game hitting streak.
The Red Sox (29-28) are in danger of falling back to .500 for the first time since they were 19-19 after beating Baltimore on May 8. They will be hoping to get more from Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and J.D. Martinez, who were a combined 0-for-9 Friday.
“We know what we have,” Sale said. “Last year isn’t going to help us at all this year, but, at the same time, we have to find that roll we were on and get in that groove.”
Domingo German (9-1, 3.43 ERA) will make his second attempt at becoming the first 10-game winner in the majors on Saturday. German was unable to get his 10th win Sunday when he took a no-decision in Kansas City after allowing seven runs on nine hits in five innings.
German is 6-0 over his past seven starts, though his 3.92 ERA in that span is higher than his season mark. He has no decisions and a 2.08 ERA in two career games (one start) vs. the Red Sox.
Rick Porcello (4-4, 4.41 ERA) will start for Boston on Saturday. He is 4-1 with a 2.94 ERA in his past eight starts. The Red Sox are 7-1 in those games, and Porcello has tossed at least six innings in all but one of those outings.
Porcello last pitched Monday in a 12-5 win over Cleveland when he allowed five runs (three earned) on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings.
He is 10-8 with a 3.11 ERA in 22 career starts against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media