We aren't sure what the "record" for latest in a season games played-wise that the arch-rival Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees met for the first time, but 2021 has to be near the top of the list as they finally face off Friday for Game 1 of a series from Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are slight -110 moneyline favorites on the MLB odds with Nathan Eovaldi on the mound for Boston and "opener" Michael King for the Bombers.
Since the Red Sox beat the Yankees in the 2018 ALDS, Boston is just 6-23 in this series and 1-15 at Yankee Stadium. The Sox's lone win there was June 2, 2019. Red Sox pitchers have a 7.05 ERA in those 16 games at Yankee Stadium. That 6-23 overall mark is the worst two-year record by one team against the other in the 118 years of this series.
Expect the Yankees fans – attendance is capped at around 15,000 -- to really give it to Boston manager Alex Cora if he takes the field for a visit at the mound, etc. Why? Cora was a ringleader for the Houston Astros' trash-can cheating scandal when he was bench coach there, and Yankees fans well remember Houston beating New York in the 2017 ALCS – the Astros have been proven to have used the banging cans in that series. When the Astros themselves were in the Bronx from May 4-6, it was quite entertaining how much they were booed.
New York is really struggling offensively right now, averaging just 3.73 runs per game, 27th in the majors. That's the second-worst mark in franchise history (1990) in the designated hitter era this many games into a season. What's keeping the Yankees afloat is their 3.25 team ERA, the team's lowest through 57 games since 1981 (3.18).
Boston should have all its regulars in the lineup Friday. New York is without first baseman Luke Voit (IL) and center fielder Aaron Hicks (out for season). The Yankees also have a few bullpen guys out. Closer Aroldis Chapman, though, has been unhittable with a 0.41 ERA in 22 appearances, the lowest ERA in the majors.
Because of an injury to starting pitcher Corey Kluber and that Luis Severino hasn't debuted yet this year, the Yanks will use the reliever King as the starter Friday. He's 0-2 with a 2.86 ERA in eight appearances this year, one start. King probably will be limited to four innings at most. He last pitched May 30 in Detroit and allowed four runs (two earned) over 2.1 innings.
It's the one-time Nathan Eovaldi (6-2, 4.01) for Boston. He has been much better on the road, going 3-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts. Lifetime at Yankee Stadium, Eovaldi is 10-6 with a 3.86 ERA.
Outfielder Clint Frazier is having a rough season for New York in batting .184, but he'll likely be in there as Frazier is 4-for-4 career of Eovaldi with two doubles and a homer. DJ LeMahieu is just 2-for-18 off him.
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