Tonight’s game is must-watch television. The New York Yankees turn the ball over to their ace Luis Severino, facing Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale. Sale finished as the runner up in 2017 Cy Young voting, behind Corey Kluber, and just ahead of Severino.
We’re only 10 games into the season (9 for Boston), but you’re crazy if you don’t think tonight’s game will have the intensity of a playoff game.
Two Different Starts to the Season
The Yankees have suffered from a barrage of injuries to start the season, yet have been able to play .500 baseball through the first 10 games. The Red Sox are off to a hot start, winning eight straight games after losing their first game of the season.
The Red Sox are missing Xander Bogaerts, who suffered an ankle fracture last night. Dustin Pedroia is also out of action, but should return to the lineup soon. Meanwhile the Yankees are missing several key players, including Greg Bird, Brandon Drury, and Aaron Hicks. Hicks is almost ready to return to the lineup, and Bird thinks he’ll be ready by early May.
Which Ace Will Win?
Severino and Sale are both off to great starts. Severino is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA, and Sale is 0-0 with an ERA of 0.82. Sale has made his first two starts against the 3-7 Miami Marlins and the 2-8 Tampa Bay Rays, so the Yankees will be his first real test of the season.
Hicks will be missed in this game, as he’s hit .348 lifetime against Sale in 23 at bats. From there it plummets drastically. Gary Sanchez is hitting .176 versus Sale, just ahead of Brett Gardner‘s .174. Aaron Judge struggles mightily against sale, going 0 for 12 with 10 strikeouts.
Likewise, Severino has had success against most of the Red Sox hitters. With the exception of Andrew Benintendi and JD Martinez, Severino has limited the Red Sox hitters to batting averages under .235. Benintendi is 6 for 14 against Severino, with 2 home runs. J.D. Martinez is 2 for 3 when facing Severino, with a couple of singles and a strikeout.
Fortunately for Severino, Benintendi is only hitting .161 to start the season while Martinez is hitting .226.
Expect a Low-Scoring Affair
With aces pitching for both teams, offense will likely be at a premium in this game. A couple runs in this game could likely be enough to win it. The Yankees will be in good shape if they can get seven good innings from Severino, and find a way to string a few hits in an inning against Sale.
Game time is 7:35pm EDT.