|4:05 PM PT5:05 PM MT6:05 PM CT7:05 PM ET19:05 ET23:05 GMT7:05 4:05 PM MST6:05 PM EST6:35 PM VEN3:05 UAE (+1)6:05 PM CT, May 31, 2019
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York Attendance: 45,556
Front-running Yankees ready for rival Red Sox
Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
- After averaging 4.23 runs in April, Boston is averaging 6.50 runs in May, including scoring 26 runs in a three-game set with Cleveland. That increase in runs per game (2.27) is the second-largest in baseball, behind only Colorado (2.57).
- The Yankees hit three home runs against Chris Paddack on Wednesday, all by righties, en route to a 7-0 win. Chris Paddack entered that game holding right-handed hitters to a .108 average with one extra-base hit. New York's right-handed hitters have hit 74 home runs, second most in MLB behind the Astros (77).
- Chris Sale has a 1.87 ERA in 105.2 innings against the Yankees in his career. That is the lowest ERA by any pitcher against New York in the live-ball era (minimum 100 innings pitched). He got the loss in his last start against the Yankees, however, going 5.0 inning and allowing four earned runs.
- J.D. Martinez has posted a 1.185 OPS at Yankee Stadium since 2015, the third-highest OPS by any player against any park (minimum 70 plate appearances). Only Mike Trout's 1.311 OPS at T-Mobile Park (Mariners) and Khris Davis' 1.226 OPS at Globe Life Park (Rangers) have a higher mark in any park.
- Gleyber Torres homered on Wednesday, his 14th of the year and sixth since May 20. The last AL player 22 and younger with as many home runs before June 1 was Alex Rodriguez in 1998 (20).
- Mookie Betts is hitting .189 against J.A. Happ in his career, his third-worst batting average against any pitcher in his career (minimum 20 plate appearances). Last season Betts slashed .368/.471/.736 versus southpaws, but is slashing just .214/.290/.268 versus lefties in 2019.
- Giants host Mets seeking 8th win in row
- Tribe host KC aiming for 7th win in row
- Yanks looks to push run to 5 vs. Rockies
- Soroka faces Nats, looks to move to 11-1
- Cubs, Padres meet at sweltering Wrigley
While the Boston Red Sox own a winning record, there is a sizable gap between them and the New York Yankees in the American League East Division.
The Red Sox get their next chance to close the gap with the Yankees on Friday for a three-game series after the forecast of heavy rain at Yankee Stadium led to the postponement of a four-game series opener on Thursday. The postponed game will be part of a day-night doubleheader on Aug. 3.
J.A. Happ (4-3, 5.09 ERA) will start for New York against Boston's Chris Sale (1-6, 4.19)
The Yankees won both meetings last month, roughing up Sale in an 8-0 win on April 16 and rallying late for a 5-3 victory the following night. The Yankees entered that series with nine losses in their first 15 games, but getting two wins over the Red Sox triggered a hot streak that has lifted New York into first place.
Since their 6-9 start, the Yankees are 30-10 in their last 40 games and hold a 7 1/2-game lead over third-place Boston and one game over second-place Tampa Bay.
The Yankees won their eighth straight series when they hit four homers in a 7-0 win over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday afternoon.
New York heads into Friday 13-3 in its last 16 games and has scored at least five runs in 10 its last 11 games after DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Gio Urshela and Gleyber Torres homered Wednesday.
The Yankees have held first place since May 19 and even if they are not constantly checking the standings, they are aware of what can be achieved this weekend.
"Obviously this is a big series for us to help our lead in first place and we're going to do whatever we can," Voit said. "It's the best rivalry in baseball. So we're so excited. We haven't seen these guys in a while. So it's going to be a lot of fun this weekend."
Last season, Boston won the division by eight games en route to its fourth championship since the start of the 2004 season, but is off to a slow start in 2019. The Red Sox left New York with a 6-13 record and are 23-14 since.
"It doesn't feel like we're there yet," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "We want it to be somewhere else of course record wise but I think the last month we've been playing consistent baseball."
Boston reached the .500 mark on May 8, is 10-8 since then and enters Friday at 29-27.
"It's an important series, we know that," Cora said. "Like I said, yesterday, we just got to play better."
The Red Sox are hoping to avoid a third straight loss after taking a 14-9 defeat to the Cleveland Indians Wednesday, a night after blowing a late lead in a 7-5 setback.
After getting short outings from starters Ryan Weber and David Price (due to a lengthy rain delay Tuesday), the Red Sox are hoping Sale can continue some recent improvement.
Although Sale owns a subpar record, he is pitching better of late. Sale is 1-1 with a 2.23 ERA in his last five starts and owns a 2.44 ERA in seven starts since allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings against the Yankees in a performance he described as "embarrassing."
Sale last pitched on Friday in Houston when he allowed four runs (two earned) on three hits in six innings of a 4-3 loss. Sale threw 89 pitches Friday after throwing at least 100 pitches in his previous five starts.
The left-hander is 6-5 with a 1.87 ERA in 18 career regular-season appearances (15 starts) against the Yankees. He also is 2-3 with a 2.36 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) at Yankee Stadium.
Happ is 3-0 with a 5.40 ERA in his last four starts.
Happ last pitched Saturday in Kansas City when he carried a shutout into the sixth and allowed three runs, four hits and struck out 10 in six innings.
The left-hander is 8-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 22 regular-season appearances (21 starts) against the Red Sox.
--Field Level Media
Updated May 31, 2019