Listen, I’m not gonna sit here and tell you that I’m the best umpire in Major League Baseball, but I’m the best umpire in Major League Baseball. That’s just a fact. Electric strike three call, checking swings with the first base umpire before the home plate umpire even thought to ask, and staring down 116 MPH rockets to the screen without blinking — that’s just what professionals do. It was an honor and a privilege to call the balls and strikes with Marlins Man by my side for Chris Sale’s best outing of the year. I’m not saying that I had anything to do with it, but I’m not saying that I didn’t either. That’s fair.
After getting their brains beat in on Friday night, the Red Sox responded by taking Sonny Gray to the woodshed. The Yankees’ right-hander came into the middle game of this series with a 7.20 ERA in three starts against the Red Sox since being acquired by New York at last year’s trade deadline, and that ERA is even higher now because he stinks. In the first inning, Rafael Devers hammered a grand slam to the opposite field, putting the Red Sox out in front 4-0 before the Yankees even got an at-bat. With Sale being the Yankees’ biological father, it wasn’t looking good from that point forward.
The Red Sox added a couple more runs in the second inning, so facing a 6-0 deficit after two innings with Sale on the mound isn’t exactly where you want to be. In the seventh inning, Sandy Leon crushed a two-run bomb into the second deck to make it 9-0, as the Red Sox continued their moonwalk to the finish line. JD Martinez had three hits and drove in three runs, but the offensive star of the night was undoubtedly Devers, who went 5-for-5 with the grand slam, a double and three singles. Don’t look now, but Devers is hitting .319 with a .905 OPS, 8 doubles, 5 homers and 16 RBI since June 6.
Sale finished his night going seven shutout, one-hit innings against the Yankees with 11 strikeouts. Since being acquired by the Red Sox prior to the 2017 season, Sale has made seven starts against the Yankees, and has a 2.11 ERA with an 0.98 WHIP and 69 strikeouts in 47 innings against them. Since the start of 2017, 28 pitchers have made at least three starts against the Yankees, and Sale’s 13.21 K/9 ranks second to Charlie Morton (13.97 in 3 starts), his ERA ranks second to Trevor Bauer (1.89 in 3 starts), and his WHIP is numero uno. Again, consider that he’s also made more than double the amount of starts against the Yankees as the two gentlemen who top him in ERA and K/9 against the Yankees since the start of 2017.
Seventeen hits, eleven runs, seven one-hit, shutout innings from Sale with eleven strikeouts — yeah, I’d say that’s an acceptable response to losing the first game of the series. In the series finale, though, the Red Sox have their work cut out for them. Luis Severino has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this year, in the same conversation as Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Jacob deGrom, Blake Snell, Corey Kluber, and Sale. He’s right near the top of that mix.
However, since the start of last year, Severino has faced the Red Sox six times and has a 4.08 ERA. That ERA could also be deceiving, because the strikeout numbers have been there (10.70 K/9) and the ability to limit baserunners has been, too, as reflected by his 1.13 WHIP against Boston in those six starts. Severino has faced the Red Sox twice this year, the first time being a beatdown at Fenway Park in which he gave up five earned runs in that 14-1 ass-whooping back on April 10. And on May 8, he held Boston to two earned runs over six innings, while punching out eleven to get a win.
So, if you’re asking me which Severino we’re gonna get on Sunday night, my guess would be the good one. The Red Sox have been a thorn in his side, but you’re still dealing with one of the best pitchers in the league, regardless of what the history has been. Speaking of history, the man opposing Severino has some history with the Yankees. David Price has a 2.72 ERA over his last nine starts, and this nine-start run of his began after his start against the Yankees was skipped in early May due to injury.
Some suggested that he was “ducking” the Yankees, but it was clear that something was actually wrong when he got tattooed by the last place Texas Rangers in the start previous to his carpal tunnel diagnosis, but nobody wants to hear about that now. The run that he’s been on since missing that start against the Yankees would indicate that he’s healthy, so there are no more excuses. It’s Price on the mound in the Bronx with the chance to take two out of three from the Yankees. This start right here is why the Red Sox signed Price to the most lucrative contract in team history.
Price’s arch nemesis Gary Sanchez is on the disabled list, so he’s got that going for him. Beyond that, Didi Gregorious has hit him well, Austin Romine has hit him well, and Giancarlo Stanton has hit him well. Even with El Gary out of the way, it’s not exactly smooth sailing for Price given how good this Yankee lineup is and also the success that a number of guys have had against him in the past. But what a statement that would be if Price said “Fuck all that” and shoved to lead the Red Sox to a series victory in the Bronx. Should be a good one.
Final score: Red Sox: A thousand, Yankees 0