An inability to consistently beat the Boston Red Sox put the New York Yankees into a deficit from which they are starting to emerge.
The Yankees are 3-10 in the first 13 meetings with Boston and get two chances to inch closer to their rivals Tuesday in a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium.
New York opened its eight-game homestand with a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday to move within two games of Boston for the second wild-card spot in the American League.
Joey Gallo hit a two-run homer in the first inning and Gerrit Cole pitched 5 2/3 innings in his return from the COVID-19 injured list. Those performances helped the Yankees enter Tuesday with 10 wins in their past 13 games and 15 in the last 20 since the previous meeting with Boston on July 25.
“This team’s been grinding,” New York’s Aaron Judge said. “This team, they’re fighters. We’re going to continue to fight. We’ve got some big series coming up.”
Since erasing a four-run deficit in the eighth inning against the Yankees on July 25, the Red Sox are 8-12 in their past 20 games to drop into second place in the division. They lost seven of nine to start this month but have scored 51 runs to win four of their past five.
The Red Sox completed a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday when J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer in a 6-2 victory while Kyle Schwarber got his first two hits with Boston.
Martinez enters this series with 11 RBIs in his past six games while Rafael Devers has seven homers and 17 RBIs in his past 24 games since Boston’s last trip to New York.
Eduardo Rodriguez allowed an unearned run in six innings Sunday and Boston enters Tuesday with a 2.39 ERA from its starters in the past nine games.
“We believe every five days, we’re going to have a good guy on the mound, and also in the bullpen, we’re going to be set up to use different guys,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. We’re feeling better about our pitching staff.”
Tanner Houck (0-3, 2.93 ERA) starts the opener and makes his seventh start. Houck last pitched Thursday when he allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits in five innings of an 8-1 loss to Tampa Bay.
Houck is 1-0 and has allowed only two unearned runs in 13 2/3 innings in his three career games (two starts) against New York.
Nathan Eovaldi (10-7, 3.92) starts the nightcap and seeks his third win this year over the Yankees. He is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in four starts against them this season and 3-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 13 career games (10 starts) against the Yankees.
Eovaldi last pitched on Wednesday when he allowed one run on three hits in seven innings of a 20-8 win over Tampa Bay.
Jordan Montgomery (4-5, 3.69) will follow Cole off the COVID-19 injured list and start Tuesday afternoon.
Montgomery is pitching for the first time since allowing one run on four hits in five innings of a no-decision against the Miami Marlins on Aug. 1.
“It definitely could have been worse,” said Montgomery, who noted he felt like he had a cold. “I’m thankful for that and I’m excited to be back with the team.”
Montgomery is 1-0 with an 0.57 ERA in his past three outings since dropping four straight June 26-July 16. Two of the starts in his skid were against Boston, though he pitched well in both (three runs allowed in 11 2/3 innings), and he is 1-2 with a 3.72 ERA in nine career starts against the Red Sox.
Rookie Luis Gil (1-0, 0.00), who filled in twice while Cole was out, will make his third career start in the second game.
He pitched against Baltimore and Seattle and allowed six hits and struck out 14 in 11 scoreless innings.
–Field Level Media