Featured image courtesy of Zimbio.com (Sept. 29, 2018 – Source: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images North America)
That’s more like it! After dropping Game Two in an anemic performance all-around, the Boston Red Sox righted the ship in Game Three. Boston has the Yankees hanging on by a thread, and Rick Porcello and the Red Sox offense looks to deliver the fatal blow in the ALDS Game Four.
Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees ALDS Game Four Preview: For the Series Win
First Pitch: 8:07 PM
Television: TBS (check local listings)
Radio: WEEI (check local area)
Your Starting Ace: Rick Porcello
Entering the series, it looked as though Rick Porcello would face the Yankees in Game Three. However, Porcello pitched an inning of relief in Game Three, pushing his start back to Game Four. After starting the season as one of the best pitchers in baseball, Porcello’s season has taken a downward skid since the start of July. In his last 86.1 innings, Porcello owns a 5.11 ERA, 4.66 FIP, and a 1.23 WHIP.
However, Porcello has dominated the Yankees throughout the season. In 23.1 innings, Porcello has earned a 2.31 ERA, 2.90 FIP, and a 0.64 WHIP against the longtime rivals. While those stats are somewhat inflated by an unsustainably-low .172 BABIP, there’s no denying Porcello has pitched well against New York all season long.
Porcello’s last meaningful start against the Yankees could very well have been his best of the season. Porcello pitched a complete game, facing just 28 batters and allowing one run while striking out nine and walking nobody. Technically, Porcello made a start against the Yankees on September 30th, but this was a two-inning tuneup for the postseason and doesn’t really count. Still, in those two innings, Porcello struck out two and walked one without allowing a hit.
Know Your Enemy: CC Sabathia
Matching Rick Porcello on the mound will be the 38-year old CC Sabathia. Sabathia is in the midst of another successful season, tossing 153 innings to the tune of a 3.65 ERA and a 4.16 FIP. Sabathia, who is normally a thorn in the Red Sox side, hasn’t had his usual success against Boston in 2018.
In the regular season, Sabathia tossed 14 innings against the Red Sox, compiling a 4.50 ERA and a 4.59 FIP. While these numbers aren’t terrible by any means, they’re a far cry from what he did in 2017. In that season, Sabathia owned a 1.27 ERA and a 3.04 FIP against the Boston Red Sox.
Sabathia probably won’t go deep into the game, regardless of score, but the Red Sox should still do well against the lefty. When facing Sabathia the first and second time through the order, Sabathia has a 3.97 ERA and a 4.22 FIP.
Player to Watch: Brock Holt
A large reason for the Red Sox 16-1 win was the heroics of super-utliity player Brock Holt. Earning the start at second base, Holt hit for the cycle for the first time in postseason history. This was his first action in a little over a week, as Ian Kinsler had started at second through the first two games of the series.
While Holt won’t hit for the cycle again, there’s no denying he makes this lineup better. Holt slashed .354/.456/.667 in the month of September and looks to have picked up right where he left off. The bottom of the order has been an issue for portions of the season, and Holt has the potential to fix that part of the lineup and make the Red Sox a significantly more complete team.
After getting humiliated in Game Three and facing elimination, the Yankees will come out with everything they have. However, the Red Sox know how dangerous the Yankees can be, and won’t want to play a win-or-go-home Game Five.
Look for both teams to give it all they have tonight. However, despite the Yankees best efforts, the Red Sox should prevail. Overall, they’re just a collectively better unit, and Sabathia doesn’t have the stuff to match Porcello pitch for pitch. While the Yankees bullpen can keep it close, the Red Sox bullpen should be able to shut them down as long as Porcello can go at five or six innings.
Game Prediction: Red Sox 5, Yankees 3