The New York Yankees are running out of chances to make it a race in the American League East and will try to avoid falling further behind the Boston Red Sox when the teams continue a four-game series Saturday in the Bronx. The Yankees had a chance to get within 3 1/2 games with a win in Friday’s meeting, but managed four hits in a 4-1 loss to fall 5 1/2 back.
Andrew Benintendi homered to continue his assault on Yankee Stadium, where he is batting .393 with five home runs in eight games this year. Eduardo Nunez also homered for the Red Sox, his eighth blast in 31 games since being traded to Boston. The Sox, who are within four games of Houston for the best record in the AL, have won five of the last seven meetings with their rivals and are 8-9 in the season series with two to play. Lefty Drew Pomeranz gets the nod Saturday for Boston opposite Masahiro Tanaka for the Yankees, who remain one game ahead of Minnesota for the first wild card spot in the AL.
TV: 1:05 p.m. ET, MLB Network, NESN (Boston), YES (New York)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox LH Drew Pomeranz (14-4, 3.23 ERA) vs. Yankees RH Masahiro Tanaka (10-10, 4.69)
Pomeranz has allowed three runs or fewer in 13 of his last 14 starts - the one outlier being a six-inning, four-run outing against the Yankees on July 14. He allowed three runs while working around seven hits and five walks in six frames at Toronto on Monday to improve to 8-0 over a span of 12 starts. The 6-6, 240-pounder is 2-0 with a 3.43 ERA in four starts against the Yankees this year but has had issues in his career with Didi Gregorius (8-for-19, one home run), Gary Sanchez (6-for-15, three home runs) and Brett Gardner (8-for-23, one home run).
A recent trip to the disabled list seems to be just what Tanaka needed, as the 28-year-old has allowed four runs over 14 innings with 14 strikeouts in two starts since being activated. The Japan native gave up three runs across 16 2/3 innings over two appearances at Fenway Park this year, but he was reached for five runs and five hits (three home runs) in five frames in a matchup with Boston at Yankee Stadium on June 6. Tanaka is 1-6 with a 9.62 ERA in eight day games.
1. Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee) was activated from the disabled list on Friday but is expected to rest Saturday.
2. Yankees RF Aaron Judge recorded his first RBI in eight games with a double Friday night, but the AL’s home run leader (37) has not gone deep since Aug. 16.
3. Boston has won 11 of its last 15 games on the road.
PREDICTION: Yankees 5, Red Sox 4