The Boston Red Sox are making the New York Yankees rethink their bullpen structure as they pull away in the American League East. The Red Sox will try to push the lead to six games in the division when they host the Yankees in the second of a three-game set on Saturday.
New York looked like it would pick up a game in the standings after taking a 6-3 lead in the seventh inning on Friday, but Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle combined to allow four runs in the bottom of the seventh before star closer Aroldis Chapman surrendered two more runs in the eighth in a 9-6 loss. Chapman allowed two earned runs in each of his last three appearances, including during a home loss to Boston on Sunday. The Yankees still own the first AL wild card spot and hold a healthy 3 1/2-game over the second-place Los Angeles Angels and Minnesota Twins. New York faces a tough task in bouncing back on Saturday, when the Red Sox send ace Chris Sale up against CC Sabathia.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, YES (New York), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Yankees LH CC Sabathia (9-5, 4.05 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH Chris Sale (14-4, 2.51)
Sabathia went on the DL with pain in his right knee after a three-inning start at Toronto on Aug. 8 but is back in time to face the team against which he delivered some of his best performances of the season. The burly veteran held Boston scoreless over eight innings at home on June 7 and scattered two hits and five walks over six scoreless frames at Fenway Park on July 16. Sabathia was not nearly as strong in his three starts prior to hitting the DL, allowing a total of 12 runs in 13 1/3 innings.
Sale surrendered one or no runs in five of his last six starts and is well on his way to his first AL Cy Young Award. The Florida native still has yet to notch his first win against New York this season despite posting a 1.19 ERA in three starts. Sale struck out 12 at New York on Sunday - his 16th double-digit strikeout performance of the season - and yielded just one run and four hits in seven frames but was held out of the decision in a game the Red Sox won in 10 innings.
1. Red Sox LF Andrew Benintendi hit safely in each of the last 11 games.
2. New York RF Aaron Judge tied the major-league record by striking out for the 35th straight game on Friday.
3. Boston 3B Rafael Devers is 11-for-26 with four homers, eight RBIs and seven runs scored during a seven-game hitting streak.
PREDICTION: Red Sox 6, Yankees 1