Henry Owens

Tuesday's Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Henry Owens vs. Masahiro Tanaka

August 04, 2015 - 5:59 am
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Tuesday will be an exciting day for the Red Sox in an otherwise underwhelming 2015 season as they will send left-hander Henry Owens to the rubber against Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees. It will be Owens' major league debut in wake of Rick Porcello's trip to the DL with tightness in his right triceps, as he was scheduled to start Tuesday. Owens has excelled in the Red Sox organization ever since his second full season at the professional level in 2013 when he posted an 11-6 record and a 2.67 ERA in 26 starts between High-A and Double-A ball. Drafted in the first-round of the 2011 draft out of Edison High School in Huntington Beach, California, Owens has quickly risen through the Red Sox' system. The 6-foot-6 starter has moved up a level each year since 2012, culminating with his call up to the show. "Well, one we wanted to insert another starter and not move guys up. We wanted to provide an extra day of rest, so Tuesday is Henry'€™s day," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of the decision to bring up Owens. "It'€™s going to be probably the biggest stage he'€™s going to make his debut on as schedule has it. Ideally having another left-hander going against that lineup in that ballpark. We'€™ll see him on Tuesday." Last season, Owens turned heads when he went 14-4 in Double-A Portland with a 2.60 ERA and 126 strikeouts in 121 innings pitched. He finished the year in Pawtucket, going a combined 17-5 between the two levels. His record may not indicate it this year (3-8), but Owens has picked up right where he left off in 2014. He sports a 3.16 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in Triple-A, allowing just 84 hits in 122 1/3 innings of work. For such a lanky individual, Owens does not have an other-worldly power fastball. His heater resides in the 88-91 mph range with some late downward movement that helps him produce soft contact. Owens' money pitch is his changeup. Owens also throws two breaking pitches, a slider and a curveball. Owens will face a tall task as the Bronx Bombers have had the best offense in baseball for the past couple weeks. Thankfully for him, he will catch a less-than-stellar Tanaka. Tanaka has had a bit of down year compared to his breakout rookie campaign of 2014, going 7-4 with a 3.80 ERA and a 1.06 WHIP. Of course, these minor struggles could be due to the partially torn UCL in his right elbow he suffered last year. The Japanese import has limited baserunners this year, logging a 7.7 H/9 mark, better than the 8.1 H/9 he maintained in 2014. However, he has greatly benefited from a .256 opponents' BABIP, the fifth-lowest figure in the AL among starters with at least 80 innings pitched. His luck on balls in play is reflected in his FIP, which is a supremely average 4.00. Tanaka's luck seems to be running out as the last few weeks have proven disastrous for him on the mound. The right-hander owns a 5.08 ERA and a .512 opponents' slugging percentage over his last seven starts. Furthermore, he has given up 11 longballs during this stretch. Although the Yankees have gone 5-2 in these starts, Yankees manager Joe Girardi knows he needs better from his All-Star. "Obviously it'€™s not what we want," Girardi said of Tanaka after a 5-2 loss to the Rangers last Wednesday. "He'€™s had some really good games and he'€™s had some tough games. He kept us in the game tonight, we just didn'€™t do a lot offensively. "That'€™s what we ask our starting pitchers to do, give us a chance to win, and I thought he did that tonight. We know he'€™s capable of pitching better." In four career starts against the Red Sox, Tanaka has a 2-2 record with a 4.70 ERA. With Tanaka reeling, the Yankees may need to rely on their offense Tuesday to get them to the 60-win plateau for the season. Red Sox vs. Tanaka (RHP) Xander Bogaerts (10 plate appearances): .200/.200/.300, 1 double, 2 RBIs David Ortiz (10): .222/.300/.667, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI Mike Napoli (9): .500/.667/1.667, 1 double, 2 HR, 2 RBIs Brock Holt (7): .286/.286/.429 Jackie Bradley (6): .167/.167/.167 Ryan Hanigan (5): .200/.200/.200 Alejandro De Aza (3): .000/.333/.000 Hanley Ramirez (3): .500/.333/2.000, 1 HR, 2 RBIs Pablo Sandoval (3): .333/.333/.333 Rusney Castillo is 0-for-0 against Tanaka with a walk. No other Red Sox have faced Tanaka. Yankees vs. Owens (LHP) No Yankees have faced Owens.