The Yankees finished off the first half of the season strong by taking three of four games from the red-hot Cleveland Indians on the road, but have been largely mediocre this year. Prior to that series, New York lost series to the White Sox and the Padres, and only managed to go 6-5 in series with the Twins and Rockies. Mark Texeira, the team’s best slugger last season, has managed a meager .193 batting average and only seven home runs and 20 RBIs going into the break. Although he missed 19 games due to injury, the Yankees have no hope of making the playoffs if he doesn’t return to form soon. New York’s starting pitching has performed well, but it is their relievers who have really stood out. Aroldis Chapman, a new acquisition from the offseason, has 17 saves and struck out 38 batters in just 25 and a third innings.
The Red Sox have arguably the most potent offense in baseball this year, backed by the soon-to-be-retiring David “Big Papi” Ortiz. Even though Ortiz has decided to retire after this season at the age of 40, he’s still lighting up the diamond for the Red Sox. Ortiz is currently hitting .332 and has 22 homers and 72 RBIs at the break. This earned him another well-deserved All-Star nod at the DH position. Meanwhile, Boston has put itself in great position to win the division heading into the second half with record of 49-38. They also enter the break on fire, winning their last three series in a row. Boston leans heavily on their offense, but this has emerged as a recipe for success due to six of their starters hitting .288 or better. The Red Sox will remain a dangerous team for any pitcher to face for the rest of 2016.
Though Yankees’ pitcher Michael Pineda has a lifetime 3.27 ERA against Boston, he’s also allowed them to hit .289. That’s a recipe for disaster against this year’s Red Sox. He won his last home decision against the Red Sox in a 3-2 win while only giving up one earned run, but was also decimated at Fenway Park in April, lasting only five innings and allowing five hits and two runs. Pineda has shown signs of improvement this year, but it’s uncertain if he can be trusted to take down the potent offense that is the Boston Red Sox.
Eduardo Rodriguez has stumbled through this season, posting a terrible 8.59 ERA coupled with a 1-3 record. However, he can only improve in the second half. He hasn’t faced the Yankees yet this season, but the Red Sox have won in two of his three road starts. Rodriguez is left-handed, so he should pose a major problem for a New York lineup that is mostly composed of lefties. He struck out six in each of his road wins, and will look to continue that success at Yankee Stadium on Friday.
With both teams starting horribly inconsistent pitchers here, I have to go with the better offense and the hotter team, which is the Boston Red Sox. I like the Sox to win 6-3.