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New York Yankees & Boston Red Sox: Rivalry Series Preview

The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will play three games this week at Yankee Stadium.  The teams only played two games back in April, due to a rainout in Boston, with New York coming away with wins in both games.  Much history surrounds the matchup as it is, but there is additional attention on this meeting with the current state of the divisional standing. 

The New York Yankees open up their homestand this week with a three game series versus their renowned rivals, the Boston Red Sox.  The next six days will prove to be a showdown of the top three teams in the American League East, with the Baltimore Orioles also coming to town on Friday. 

Currently, the Yankees hold a two game lead in the division, but the Red Sox and Orioles are both in striking distance.  With Baltimore being just 3.5 games out, these upcoming games are certainly crucial.  The Yankees are coming off of a split series in Toronto versus a Blue Jays team who currently stand below the .500 mark, and at the bottom of the AL East.

Even beyond the rivalry, the Yankees are hoping to have a much-needed bounce-back start on the mound from Masahiro Tanaka in order to gain some momentum.  Since opening the season 2-0, Tanaka has lost four straight starts.  Last season he was 14-4 with a stellar 3.07 ERA, so they hope he returns to that same dominant form tonight.  

Chris Sale has been everything the Red Sox could hope for from an off-season acquisition.  He leads the majors with 119 strikeouts. His 7-2 record, 2.89 ERA, and Craig Kimbrel's presence in the bullpen (16 saves this season), are going to put the Yankees to the test.  

In addition to some shut-down pitching from their staff, the Red Sox have Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia in their offensive arsenal. While Benintendi has started slowly, the Boston faithful stand behind their young star and expect him to warm up soon. On Monday, he led the Red Sox to a 7-3 win over the O's. 

Ramirez showed early signs of an offensive power surge, but he has since cooled off a bit. Pedroia's injury became a headline after Manny Machado's slide into second took the Sox's star second baseman out of the lineup.  

 

He has since kept himself at a .292 average, but has only yielded 2 HR on the season.  

The Red Sox aren't seen as much of a longball threat, as they rank 29th in home runs, but if everything aligns with these core players getting into a groove - and the roster is at full health - the Red Sox will definitely remain a contender.

On the offensive side for the Yankees, they have been on a roll.  They have scored 294 runs on the season, which is second in the American League.  Aaron Judge leads all of Major League Baseball with 18 home runs so far, including his first career grand slam, which he hit on Memorial Day.

 

After the game he followed up with a very Jeter-esque interview.

 

Besides crushing baseballs, Judge compliments his 18 HR with 41 RBI, a .324 average, and 60 hits through the first 54 games of his rookie season.

Red Sox manager John Farrell knows that this Yankees team will be a challenge. "It's a good team. They've got a very good blend of young players and veteran guys. What Aaron Judge is doing is impressive to say the least, both defensively and offensively."

The defense he alludes to can be traced back to the last time the two teams faced off at Fenway this season. Judge made a spectacular play down the right field line, crashing into the stands. 

 
Last week, he and Starlin Castro showed some teamwork on defense for a unique play.

 

Castro and Matt Holliday are doing a great job of complimenting Judge at the three-spot in the Yankees’ order. These two have combined for 20 home runs and 68 RBI behind him in the lineup.    

Aaron Hicks is another player who is really contributing to the threat of the roster depth that the 2017 Yankees have.  He is enjoying a great season, and his .321 average is second on the team. He has also crushed eight home runs, which makes a strong argument of his own for an All-Star appearance in July. Versus the Blue Jays on Thursday, Hicks' 4/5, 6 RBI outing was a huge spark to the Yankees offense.  The Bronx Bombers crushed 4 home runs in one inning en route to a 12-2 victory with C.C. Sabathia on the mound. 

 

Dellin Betances, Chasen Shreve, and Adam Warren have been stellar in the bullpen throughout the absence of the flame-throwing sothpaw Aroldis Chapman.

The Bottom Line: 
Both the Red Sox and Yankees have struggled with some key injuries, but this rivalry showdown is guaranteed to be as epic as usual.  The power of the Yankees can be found in every spot up and down the lineup, making them a threat.  But the Red Sox pitching staff will test the ability of the Yankees to adjust and produce runs.

Who do you think will win?  Continue the conversation and comment below.