|4:32 PM PT5:32 PM MT6:32 PM CT7:32 PM ET19:32 ET23:32 GMT7:32 4:32 PM MST6:32 PM EST7:02 PM VEN3:32 UAE (+1)6:32 PM CT, October 5, 2018
Fenway Park, Boston, Massachusetts Attendance: 39,059
Yankees, Red Sox rivalry heats up as they meet in ALDS
New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox
- The Yankees (100-62) and the Red Sox (108-54) are the first 100-win teams ever to face off in the LDS round, and the first 100-win teams to meet in the postseason prior to the World Series since the Yankees and Royals in the 1977 ALCS.
- These teams will be meeting in the postseason for the first time since the Red Sox rallied from a three-game deficit to win the 2004 ALCS in seven games. Since that series, Boston has a 33-25 postseason record with three World Series championships, while the Yankees are 33-33 with one World Series title.
- Chris Sale has made one career postseason start, allowing seven earned runs and three home runs over five innings in an 8-2 loss in Game 1 of the 2017 ALDS. Since being acquired by the Sox, Sale has a 2.11 ERA, a 0.98 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 47.0 innings over seven starts against the Yankees.
- Since making his first start with Yankees on July 29, J.A. Happ is 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts. He joins Whitey Ford in 1945 as the only Yankees in the last 100 years to have zero losses and a sub-3.00 ERA through 11 career starts with the team. Happ most recently pitched in the postseason as a member of the Blue Jays in 2016, going 1-1 in two starts with a 2.70 ERA.
- Giancarlo Stanton went 1-for-3 with a home run and a walk in his postseason debut in the Wild Card game. He joined current teammate Aaron Judge and Cecil Fielder as the only Yankees all-time with a walk and a homer in their Yankees' postseason debut. Judge also went deep on Wednesday, bringing his career playoff total to five in 14 games. Only Bernie Williams (7) had more home runs for the Yankees through 14 career playoff games with the team.
- Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez combined for a .635 slugging percentage this season, the highest by a pair of teammates since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris combined for a .651 mark in 1961 (batting title qualifiers only). Betts has registered a hit in each of his last six postseason games, however he has yet to drive in a run in 29 career playoff plate appearances.
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BOSTON -- It has been 14 years since the Boston Red Sox pulled off the greatest postseason comeback in baseball history and rallied from three games down to stun the rival New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series.
Friday night, arguably sports' greatest rivalry is renewed in the postseason again in the American League Division Series.
In a quick reminder, the Red Sox, down to their final inning of what was about to be a four-game sweep, tied Game 4 against Mariano Rivera, won in the 12th inning on a David Ortiz walk-off two-run homer and then went on to win the next three games -- and then ended the franchise's 86-year World Series drought by sweeping the St. Louis Cardinals.
That was then and this is now, with the 108-win Red Sox hosting Games 1 and 2 as they open their quest for a fourth title in 15 years.
While the Red Sox waited, the Yankees, seeking their first title since 2009 and their second since 2000, broke out the long ball and eliminated the Oakland A's in the wild-card game Wednesday night.
"I think (his players) can't wait," Yankees manager Aaron Boone, the home run hero of New York's 2003 elimination of the Red Sox. "I think they're ready and relish the opportunity to go up against the game's best this year. And obviously we're very familiar with them.
"We know how good they are. I mean, we know we have to play our best if we're going to have a chance to beat them. Obviously they're very tough at Fenway."
The Red Sox won the final game of the regular season last Sunday to win the season series 10-9 -- and are 29-28 in the last 57 games between the rivals. But it was a dominating four-game sweep by the Red Sox in early August that blew the AL East race open.
Now, the 108-54 record resets to 0-0.
Chris Sale, the Boston ace who has thrown just 17 innings since July 27 because of a shoulder inflammation problem, faces J.A. Happ in the opener -- with Boston's David Price going against Masahiro Tanaka in Game 2 of this matchup between rookie managers.
"Everybody in baseball wants this matchup and so do we," says New York's Dellin Betances, who pitched well out of the bullpen Wednesday night.
Thursday, Sale said, "It's fun. I mean, what else do you want? You got the Yankees and the Red Sox in the playoffs playing against each other. One of the biggest rivalries in sports ever. It's what we signed up for."
Red Sox manager Alex Cora meant all along to limit Sale's innings in an attempt to turn around his late-season struggles that included going 0-2 against the Houston Astros in last year's ALDS. But the plan could not have been to limit the skinny left-hander to 17 innings after July 27 of what looked like a Cy Young season.
Sale, 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA on the season, gave up three runs on four hits -- with eight strikeouts -- in 4 2/3 innings against the Orioles last Saturday, with his velocity down, has thrown twice since. Weather forced him inside for his first session but he threw in the bullpen Wednesday.
The Red Sox feel a mechanical flaw that has since been corrected was the cause of the mph dip.
"I do feel that they found something and he's going to be fine," Cora said. "Obviously, we're going to have to wait 'til (tomorrow) to see if it works. But one thing for sure, if there's velocity there, if he goes up to 99 mph or he's throwing 95 mph or he's throwing 91 mph, he's still a great pitcher. And he showed it. ... So as far as him competing and his slider and his changeup, they're still good. It's just the separation obviously what makes hitters uncomfortable."
The Yankees started Luis Severino Wednesday, thus holding Happ, who is 7-0 in 11 starts, for Boston.
Happ is 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA in four starts against Boston this season (six of the 11 runs against him were unearned) and was 2-0 with a 1.90 ERA in four outings last season. He is 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 21 games -- 20 starts -- lifetime against the Red Sox, 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 10 games -- nine starts -- at Fenway Park.
He is 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 10 postseason games -- three starts -- and was pitching in relief when he was on the champion Philadelphia Phillies in 2008.
Sale beat the Yankees twice this season, allowing just one run and striking out 19 in 13 innings. But both outings came before July.
Sale is 6-4 with a 1.61 ERA in 17 games -- 14 starts -- lifetime against the Yankees.
The Red Sox have some ugly numbers against Happ -- except for Steve Pearce and Brandon Phillips, the latter not likely active for the series. Pearce is 11-for-32 (.344) with six homers and Phillips 8-for-23 (.348) with three home runs off the lefty.
But Sandy Leon is 1-for-10 (.100), Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-for-20 (.150), Xander Bogaerts 5-for-31 (.161), Andrew Benintendi 2-for-18 (.167), Rafael Devers 2-for-12 (.167), J.D. Martinez 4-for-20 (.200) and Mookie Betts 7-for-34 (.206) with two homers.
The current Yankees roster is hitting a combined .193 (32-for-166) against Sale. Aaron Hicks is 8-for-25 (.320), but Miguel Andujar is 0-for-6, Austin Romine 2-for-17 (.118), Gary Sanchez 3-for-20 (.150), Brett Gardner 4-for-45 (.160) with 10 strikeouts, and Aaron Judge 3-for-18 (.167) with two home runs.
While the Yankees bullpen took care of the last five innings Wednesday night, the Red Sox enter the postseason loaded with pen questions. In fact, Boston relievers had a cumulative 4.84 ERA in 126 1/3 innings.
"You look around the league in September, there were some great bullpens that became bad," Cora said. "They were hit around. They were giving up leads. It's the nature of 162 games. We're going to the same guys, and it seemed like some of them hit the wall."
The Boston bullpen had a 6.75 ERA in 19 games against New York this season.
Cora confirmed former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi will start a Game 4 if necessary, in New York and likely against CC Sabathia.
Updated October 5, 2018