Game 58: Red Sox at Yankees - Sunday night Bronx battle

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

It’s only June 2 and certainly not a chill in the air, but there’s a different feel to this Red Sox-Yankees series. That may have something to do with the two teams being atop the AL East and seemingly headed for tight race over the summer months. Two Cy Young contenders take the mound tonight in the rubber game of this final series between the rivals before the All-Star Break. Boston (34-23) sends righty Clay Buchholz (7-0, 1.73 ERA) to the bump and New York (31-24) counters with Hiroki Kuroda (6-3, 2.39 ERA).

Buchholz has been the Sox most consistent starter this season, leading the AL in ERA and tied for second in wins. He was scratched this past week with discomfort in his shoulder after claiming to have slept on it wrong, so keep an eye on that tonight. Also, the Sox are an AL-best 22-13 (.629) when their opposing starter is right-handed, per Red Sox game notes.

Here is Boston’s lineup for the Sunday night finale (first pitch – 8:00 pm EDT):

1. Nava, LF
2. Carp, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Drew, SS
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Iglesias, 3B
9. Bradley Jr., CF

Buchholz, P

Kicking off the month right
The Sox have won each of their three games on the first day of the month this season by a combined score of 29-4. Boston beat the Yankees in New York 8-2 on Opening Day April 1. The Red Sox then took down Toronto in the Rogers Centre 10-1 on May 1. Finally, they beat the Yankees last night, June 1, 11-1. Also of note, after an impressive 18-8 start to the season for the month of April, Boston went .500 (15-15) in May. Going into May 1, the Sox had a two-game lead over the Yankees for first in the AL East. Going into June 1, it was a one-game lead, so they only lost one game over the course of an average month. They also picked up that one game with yesterday’s win.

Outfield depth
Over the next two months before the trade deadline, there may be a few moves the Red Sox Brass makes, and many of those moves may involve outfielders. There is a ton of depth in the Sox system, starting with the big club. Daniel Nava in left, Jacoby Ellsbury in center and Shane Victorino in right has been the most consistent lineup John Farrell as used this season. But with injuries and matchups, we’ve also seen Jonny Gomes, Mike Carp and Jackie Bradley Jr. You can’t carry six outfielders on the club and with others like Bryce Brentz waiting down on the farm, there will be some decisions to make. After a three-hit performance last night, JBJ figures to be nearly ready to make the jump to the Big Leagues full-time and it helps that Ellsbury is in his final year of his contract with Boston. Nava is tied for second on the team in home runs and had his first career four-hit night last night as well. Victorino is signed for another two years and Gomes figures to platoon all season. There’s many scenarios out there, but they will begin to unfold soon.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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