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The ups and downs of a baseball season are unlike any other sport. There’s no other gauntlet that runs 162 games. Playing the vast majority of the days for six straight months — seven if you’re fortunate enough.
After all of that, it comes down to one game to make the divisional rounds. For a do-or-die game to be arguably the greatest rivalry in all of sports, well that’s the justice this baseball season needed.
Both did it in poetic ways, too. After dropping the first two games of its final series of the seson, New York found itself in a scoreless tie with the Rays in Game 162 before Aaron Judge smacked a walk-off single to send the Yankees into the postseason.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox nearly saw their hopess of a Wild Card game — or at least without playing a play-in game to get there — disappear, falling behind 5-1 to the Nationals.
Instead, they rallied, scoring six runs in the final four innings including a two-run shot from Rafael Devers in the ninth inning to win 7-5 and earn a home game.
Point is, both teams enter this game feeling good about themselves — New York was 9-3 over its final 12 games while Boston was 11-5 in its final 16. Now it’s about timely hitting and pitching which the Red Sox might be missing a bit of.
J.D. Martinez tripped over second base running out to the field on Sunday and is said to be a game-time decision for Tuesday.
This is precisely why the Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a $324 million contract. To pitch in games like this.
Cole had another great season, finishing 16-8 overall with a 3.23 ERA, 1.06 WHIP and 243 strikeouts in 181.1 innings, including an impressive 10-4 record and 3.32 ERA on the road. However, iit wasn’t without its ups and downs — his ERA skyrocketed in June (4.65) and July (4.71) after the MLB cracked down on sticky stuff.
He would figure it out, posting a 0.51 ERA in three starts in three starts off injury in August, but has stumbled again lately. Over his past three starts, Coole has given up 15 earned runs and 24 hitis in 17.2 innings. He’s almost always allowed to bulldog his way through a start, but in a do-or-die game everybody has a shorter leash than normal — even Cole.
Nathan Eovaldi will counter and he was the best of what was an extremely pedestrian rotation for the Red Sox. The 31-year-old veteran is 11-9 with a 3.75 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 195 strikeouts in 182.1 innings.
Eovaldi faced the Yankees six (yes, six) times this season and the Red Sox were 2-4 in those games. They’re also 0-4 in the last four including Eovaldi’s worst start of the season a few weeks back when he gave up seven runs in just 2.2 innings of work.
For the Yankees, Gleyber Torres is a guy who could change this game in a big way.
His season — .259 batting average, nine home runs, 51 RBIs and a .697 OPS — wasn’t that impressive, but he’ was great against Boston this year going 17-of-58 (.293) with four home runs and 13 RBIs and a .873 OPS.
On Boston’s side, it has to be Kyle Schwarber. For starters, he was great in 20 games at home this season — 23-of-66 (.348) with a 1.146 OPS but more relevantly, he is the guy who may have to make a defensive switch in order to adjust, so his role will be key.
|Yankees vs Red Sox Information|
|Teams||New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox|
|Location||Fenway Park, Boston, MAA|
|Time||Tuesday, Oct. 5, 10:10 P.M. EST|
|How to watch||FOX|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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