Despite heading into the 2019 campaign labeled as two of baseball’s biggest powerhouses, the Yankees and Red Sox have not played the way they likely would have hoped three weeks into the season. Now, the two clubs matchup for a quick two-game set in the Bronx, beginning Tuesday night at 6:35 PM EST.
If someone were to tell me that the Yankees and Red Sox would be within a game of each other in the standings heading into their first series matchup of the year, I, of course, wouldn’t blink an eye. But the fact that that comes by the Yankees owning a 6-9 record and Boston’s being worse at 6-11 is shocking. Not to mention the Tampa Bay Rays are 12-4, leading the AL East by 5.5 games.
So what exactly has gone wrong for these two hated rivals?
Well, in short — the Yankees have 11 players on the IL and the Red Sox’ pitching staff has been putrid, highlighted by Chris Sale who, through three starts this season, is 0-3 with an ERA of 9.00. And, of course, this is fresh off a brand-new 5-year/$145M extension he received at the end of March.
As for the Yankees’ injuries, they aren’t necessarily the exact reason for their lackluster record. The bullpen has allowed quite a few leads to slip away, most noticeably in Houston last week where two late leads were blown, leading to an eventual series sweep.
If the Yankees intend on righting the ship, however, the last thing they can afford is being swept by the Red Sox and allowing them some sort of spark. With that being said, James Paxton plays a very crucial role in this quick series. He’s set to matchup against the struggling Chris Sale to open up the series Tuesday night. It will be an early test for Paxton’s ability to pitch under important circumstances — which the Yankees are hoping he can do at a high level if they are to go far into October this year.
As for the second and final game of the series, J.A. Happ (0-2, 8.76 ERA) will go for the Yankees and Nathan Eovaldi (0-0, 8.40) for the Red Sox. First pitch at 6:35 PM EST.