Jacoby Ellsbury

Red Sox-Yankees series preview

April 10, 2015 - 8:00 am
The Red Sox head to the Bronx on Friday to rekindle their rivalry with the Yankees. After starting the year against a National League team, the Sox will play their first games against a divisional opponent in the young 2015 season. Boston got two high-quality starts from Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson, along with a decent outing from Rick Porcello, which resulted in a low-scoring loss. The much talked-about offense was working in Games 1 and 3, and despite only scoring twice in Game 2, the Red Sox are in the top 10 in runs scored through three games. With a return to an American League stadium this weekend, the Red Sox will be able to use the DH and get a better idea of how their upgraded offense will look for most of 2015. The main area of concern will be the pitching staff against the Yankees. A rotation that already has been called into question was expected to be without one of its starters, Joe Kelly, who was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. In Kelly'۪s absence, the Red Sox announced Wednesday that knuckleballer Steven Wright would get the start in Game 2 of the series. However, manager John Farrell said on Thursday that after Kelly threw a good bullpen session on Wednesday, "It looks like he'۪۪ll be ready to go by Saturday." In 2014 the Red Sox went 7-12 against the Yankees, who have started this season with a 1-2 record. New York's only win was in Game 2 of its series with the Blue Jays, and the Yankees gave up six runs twice in the series. Their Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka was roughed up by Toronto and made it through just four innings of work. There was speculation that the Japanese star was not completely healthy for his outing, but the Yankees have made it clear that they don't believe his health had any effect on the outcome. "I'm not going to make excuses," Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters after Tanaka's outing. "He's capable of pitching better than today, and he will. I think you'll see it as long as he stays healthy, and I believe right now he is healthy." The Red Sox will see Tanaka on Sunday. After being suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season, Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of this season on Thursday night. It was the 655th homer of A-Rod's career, putting him just five behind Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list. The Yankees have two starting pitchers on the disabled list, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova. Here are the pitching matchups for the series: Wade Miley (8-12, 4.34 in 2014) vs. Nathan Eovaldi (6-14, 4.37 in 2014) Joe Kelly (6-4, 4.20 in 2014) vs. Adam Warren (3-6, 2.97 in 2014) Clay Buchholz (1-0, 0.00) vs. Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 9.00) WHO'S HOT: RED SOX -- After starting the season 1-for-7, Xander Bogaerts reached base safely five times in Thursday's game, with two singles, a triple, two walks and three RBIs. -- Ramirez blew open Game 1 with a ninth-inning grand slam and finished the game with five RBIs after a solo home run earlier in the game. He is 4-for-13 with a walk. He came close to another late-inning grand slam, this time off of Jonathon Papelbon, in Wednesday's loss, but the ball was caught on the left-field warning track. -- The Red Sox bullpen has yet to allow a run. In seven innings of work, six relievers have combined to allow only two hits and two walks while striking out six. WHO'S HOT: YANKEES -- Jacoby Ellsbury is hitting 3-for-11 with two walks through three games. The ex-Red Sox outfielder has scored two runs and stolen a base from the leadoff spot. -- Ex-Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller got the lone save chance for the Yankees and capitalized with a 1-2-3 inning that included a strikeout. -- Rodriguez has come back from his suspension with some good at-bats as a DH in New York's first series. He is 2-for-9 with a home run and two walks. WHO'S NOT: RED SOX -- Mike Napoli, who started Game 2 at first base after Ortiz got the start for the opener, did not fare well in his first start. He went 0-for-4 on Wednesday and 0-for-1 with a walk in two pinch-hit appearances in the other two games. -- After hitting two solo home runs on Opening Day, Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-7 with two walks for the rest of the series in Philadelphia. He will look to get his bat going again with some warmer weather this weekend. -- David Ortiz started out slow, going 0-for-5 with four strikeouts in his first five plate appearances. On Thursday he reached on a hard-hit ball into the shift that was not fielded cleanly by second baseman Chase Utley. The 39-year-old added another strikeout on Thursday and has yet to flash his power. WHO'S NOT: YANKEES -- Carlos Beltran is 1-for-7. The veteran outfielder has struck out once and walked once in his second season with the Yankees. -- As noted above, Tanaka struggled mightily in his first outing. Through four innings he was tagged for four runs on five hits, a home run and two walks on his way to a loss. -- Young shortstop Didi Gregorius, who has taken over the position usually occupied by Derek Jeter for the last 20 years, has not produced anything close to Jeter-like numbers, going 1-for-7 in the Toronto series with a walk and a strikeout. He also was guilty of a baserunning error after his single, as he tripped rounding first and was tagged out.