Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Oct. 5, 2018 – Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
One day after pulling off a thrilling Game One victory, the Red Sox crashed hard in Game Two against the New York Yankees. Because of this, the Red Sox head into the Bronx for Game Three with the series tied 1-1. While this isn’t an elimination game, this game is essentially a must-win for the Boston Red Sox. To say the stakes are high in the ALDS Game Three would be a massive understatement.
ALDS Game Three Preview: Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees
First Pitch: 7:40 PM, Eastern
TV: TBS (check local listings)
Radio: WEEI (check local area)
Your Starting Ace: Rick Porcello or Nathan Eovaldi
Update: Alex Cora announced Nathan Eovaldi will start Game Three
As of this posting, the Red Sox haven’t officially announced whether Rick Porcello or Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound in Game Three. Porcello was scheduled to do so entering the series, but the Sox were reportedly considering pushing his start back. Since Porcello didn’t pitch in relief during Game Two, he’ll almost certainly start in Game Three.
After a strong start to the season, Porcello has faced his share of struggles since July. Over his last 86.1 innings, Porcello owns a 5.11 ERA, 4.66 FIP, and a 1.23 WHIP. While those numbers are all average to subpar, he’s had his share of good outing over the second half of the season, especially in the second half.
Perhaps Porcello’s best start of the year came in August against this very Yankees squad. In the second game of a four-game sweep, Porcello tossed nine masterful innings of one-hit ball, striking out nine while walking zero batters. Additionally, Porcello faced three batters so far in the ALDS, getting two outs while the third reached on a weak infield single.
That said, the Red Sox should be in good hands should they turn to Eovaldi. Eovaldi has been a solid option since joining the Red Sox, pitching 54 innings to the tune of a 3.33 ERA, 2.88 FIP, and a 3.84 xFIP. However, the righty has been absolutely dominant against the Yankees ever since joining the Red Sox.
Eovaldi has pitched 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees as a member of the Red Sox, and the underlying peripherals say this dominance isn’t a fluke. His FIP against the Yankees is 2.29, he’s striking out 23.2% of batters and walking just 5.4%. Eovaldi is highly susceptible to peaks and valleys in his starts, but he’s been nothing but great against New York.
Know Your Enemy: Luis Severino
The Yankees will counter by sending their ace on to the mound. Luis Severino is one of the best young pitchers in baseball and is more than capable of shutting down a lineup on any given day. While he has struggled in the second half, he bounced back in a major way against the Oakland Athletics in the Wild Card game. While he walked four batters and got into a few jams, Severino ended up pitching four scoreless innings while striking out seven.
Additionally, Severino has pitched well against the Red Sox this season. In 30.1 innings, Severino has allowed a 3.56 ERA and a 2.53 FIP against the Red Sox while striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings. With the Red Sox offense anemic for the past game and a half, this could be another quiet night for the Red Sox.
Rick Porcello should do enough to keep the game interesting, but ultimately the Yankees should prevail. The Red Sox offense has been stagnant since the third inning of Game One, and they need to do something to add a spark. The best solution would be to replace Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Nunez in the starting lineup with Brock Holt and Rafael Devers.
Even that might not be enough against Severino. Rick Porcello will need to be on his very best, and the offense will need to wake up. Right now, the Red Sox are fighting an uphill battle to win game three.
Final Prediction: Red Sox 3, Yankees 5