Thursday, August 02, 2018

N.Y. Yankees: Bombers Invade Boston for Pivotal Series Against Sox

From the desk of:  BLAME CARLOS MAY

New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox
Fenway Park

New York Yankees: You Talkin' To Me?

If you're a regular rider of the Trolley, perhaps you're familiar with one of my sayings: once is an event; twice is a coincidence; three times is a trend.

Phil Nevin, third base coach of the Yankees, if you remember, calls out Red Sox manager Alex Cora during the first series between them and the Yankees back in April.  This past Wednesday, Nevin rips into select members of his own team which Aaron Boone is made to address during the post-game.

Entering this weekend's four game series, what are the chances Phil Nevin blows his top again over something or at someone?  I'm curious to see just how much power Phil Nevin thinks he wields.  Not before last night did I harbor any conspiracy theories.  But being as Boone is the calm, cool, collected one, I wonder if he and Nevin are employing the old good cop/bad cop routine upon young impressionable players?

I'm not so sure that's a good idea.  Brian Cashman let Joe Girardi go partly because he was too hard on Gary Sanchez, but generally because of his no nonsense, clenched jaw manner.  I have to question whether Brian Cashman agrees with Phil Nevin's tact.  I'm more inclined to think that if Nevin keeps this up, Cashman will suggest Boone seek out an alternative third base coach.

The Rivalry: No Chris Sale; No Xander Bogaerts; No Dustin Pedroia; No Aaron Judge; No Gary Sanchez; No J.A. Happ; No Problem ...

Here we go again.  The two best teams in baseball clash this weekend at Fenway Park.  Despite being thirty games over .500, the Yankees trail the first place Red Sox by 5.5 games.  The Bombers have a more favorable schedule ahead than do the Red Sox, but not if they keep giving away games to the moribund Baltimore Orioles.  The Red Sox, on the other hand, enter this series with the best record in baseball, 41 games above the .500 mark.  Even after their franchise record 17-2 start, the Sox still own a 58-32 record since then.

However, neither team is lacking in compromising issues.  The Yankees enter this series minus the services of Gary Sanchez, Aaron Boone, and newly acquired J.A. Happ.  The Red Sox are without their ace, Chris Sale.  Xander Bogaerts will not play Thursday, and is questionable beyond that.  Meanwhile, Dustin Pedrioa will likely continue missing the rest of the season.

Losing Sale (for any stretch of games) is a particularly painful blow to Boston.  After 22 starts, Sale is 11-4 with a league leading 2.04 ERA.  With only 90 hits allowed in 141 innings pitched, he likewise leads the league with an 0.87 WHiP.  He also leads with 207 strikeouts and a 13.2 K/9 average.

Luis Severino leads the league with 14 wins against just four losses, and owns a 2.94 ERA.  Rick Porcello is right behind him with 13 victories.

Boston features two of the league's top three hitters.  Mookie Betts leads the A.L. with a .338 average, J.D. Martinez is third with a .323 mark, and is tied for the lead with 32 home runs, and leads with 89 RBI.  Mookie Betts is third with a 6.5 WAR.

When the Bombers are at bat, I discussed the other day how all eyes will be on Giancarlo Stanton.

If the Yankees are to make headway, they need to win three games.  Of course, a split doesn't hurt.  But to lose three of four, or worse, is putting themselves in a big pickle.  Starting with Thursday night's game at Fenway, the Yankees and Red Sox have nine games remaining.

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