RED SOX (59-51) AT YANKEES (68-39)
7:05 p.m. ET; YES, MLBN, NESN, MLB.TV
As the minutes ticked off toward Wednesday’s trade deadline, an obvious area of need for the Boston Red Sox (+1.5) and the New York Yankees (-1.5) pertained to pitching.
In Boston’s case, it was a need for some bullpen reinforcement to a group with a collective ERA of 4.54. In New York’s case, it was a need for some rotation reinforcement for a group with a 4.77 ERA, the highest among any division leader.
As Boston visits New York for the opener of a four-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday night, both teams are standing pat and seem willing to finish the season with their current rosters.
The Red Sox enter their final trip to New York 10 1/2 games out of first place in the American League East and 3 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the second-wild spot. Boston’s place in the standings is among the reasons for general manager Dave Dombrowski didn’t make a move at the deadline.
“We’re battling for a spot,” Dombrowski told reporters after the Red Sox were connected to possible trades for Edwin Diaz, Ken Giles and Shane Greene. “Hopefully, we win a division, but as I sit here, realistically, we’re probably playing first for a wild-card spot. I look at that a little bit differently, as far as what you’re willing to do and the risk that you’re willing to take.”
Boston heads to New York having lost four straight since winning the first three games against the Yankees last weekend. The Red Sox have allowed 32 runs in their last four games, losing 9-4 to Tampa Bay on Thursday despite Xander Bogaerts homering twice and Mookie Betts also connecting.
New York has led the division every day since June 15 but general manager Brian Cashman is facing scrutiny for not adding another starter, especially in the wake of the Yankees posting a 16.62 ERA from their starters in a seven-game stretch from July 20-27.
The Yankees are 4-6 in their last 10 games and, despite Masahiro Tanaka slogging through four-plus innings Wednesday, they head into the series coming off a 7-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (-1.5).
“We didn’t get close to anything but we certainly knocked on all doors, had a lot of ideas and an exchange of ideas with clubs in our effort to improve,” Cashman said. “But the fallback has always been we know we have a good club already and the job is to obviously to look under every rock to see if you can turn up something to add to what we already have.”
One pitcher acquired via a previous trade whom the Yankees are counting on is left-hander James Paxton (5-6, 4.72 ERA), who has allowed 10 homers in the first inning and pitched to an 11.00 ERA in the opening frame. On July 26 in Boston, Paxton allowed three of his seven runs in the first inning and gave up three homers to Betts and one to J.D. Martinez in four innings during a 10-5 loss.
Paxton’s best start of the season was in New York against the Red Sox on April 16, when he struck out 12 and allowed two hits in eight innings of an 8-0 win. In six career starts vs. Boston, he is 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA.
Right-hander Eduardo Rodriguez (13-4, 4.13), who is 7-0 with a 3.07 ERA in his last nine starts, opens the series for Boston.
Rodriguez last pitched in a 9-5 win over the Yankees on Saturday, when he allowed three runs on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings. He is 6-4 with a 3.92 ERA in 16 career appearances (14 starts) against the Yankees.
–Field Level Media