Entering Game 3 on Monday night, the New York Yankees are in the perfect position to cruise to the next round.
Any time the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox meet in October, fireworks are bound to happen. With the history behind the two teams playing a key role in their matchups, each series is unpredictable and exciting.
This ALDS is no exception to the rule. With the Red Sox squeaking by with a Game 1 victory, the Yankees used their biggest superpower (the home run) to run away with Game 2. Now, tied at one game apiece, the Bombers will return to their home park looking to take the series.
While the Red Sox are still the AL East champs and have the home-field advantage if the series stretches to Game 5, the Yankees actually have played it all out perfectly. Right now, they enter Game 3 with the Red Sox right where they want them.
That’s absolutely right; the Red Sox are an incredible team but right now, the Yankees have several advantages to finish out this series.
There's No Place Like Home
The Yankees have clicked their heels and luckily they return to the Bronx taking one of two in Boston. While they do fine on the road, the Yankees excel in their home ballpark and that is exactly what they’re looking forward to.
In the 2018 season series, the Red Sox lead by one (10-9). At home, however, the Yankees have a 6-3 record over their foes during 2018. In those games, they’ve outscored the Sox by 14 runs.
As a whole on the season, the Bombers found home to be very appealing, boasting a 53-28 record. Oh, and what about the playoffs? The Yankees haven’t lost a home playoff game since the Wild Card game in 2015, going 6-0 since that devastating season-ending loss.
Playing on the Yankee Stadium dirt is one thing but the atmosphere, especially come playoff time, is something spectacular. The fans are invested in every single pitch, as seen in this year’s Wild Card game.
Playing in that atmosphere is fun for the Yankees but has to be brutal for the Sox. While they’re used to being booed on the road, Yankees fans in October are not your typical fans. They are going to be all over the boys not in pinstripes.
The pressure is now on the Red Sox to escape with a victory at one of the most difficult ballparks to play in this season. Good luck with that.
The 'Pen Is Not So Mighty
The Yankees may not have scored massive amounts of runs during their two-game stint in Boston but they certainly did put a toll on Boston’s bullpen.
The Yankees faced off against their kryptonite in Chris Sale on Friday night but got him out of the game after just 5-plus innings of work. That allowed the Yankees to do some damage against the Red Sox bullpen, which isn’t exactly a strong point in their resume.
In Game 1, the Yankees chipped away at a five-run deficit and found themselves matching up against five Boston pitchers, including Rick Porcello, who was originally slated to start Game 3. After knocking out David Price following 1.2 innings of work, the Yankees took on five more bullpen pitchers. All together, in two games, the Yankees faced seven different pitchers from the ‘pen.
Not only that, but the Yankees got to the bullpen early and often. Out of 18 innings in the ALDS, the Yankees faced bullpen pitchers for 11 of those innings.
While the Sox’ bullpen is definitely an area of concern, the Yankees are doing their part in wearing them down. If there is a Game 5, the Yankees will have the advantage offensively over a tired bullpen.
a Kink in the Plan
There is no doubt that the Boston Red Sox have the clear advantage over the Yankees when it comes to their starting rotation. However, the Yankees have made that more difficult for the Sox moving forward in this series.
Originally, the Red Sox had Chris Sale, David Price and Rick Porcello lined up to toss the first three games. However, a failing bullpen caused the Sox to call on Porcello far earlier than anticipated, knocking him out of the Game 3 slot. Instead, the Red Sox send Nathan Eovaldi to the mound on Monday night.
With the series tied 1-1 at the moment, Monday night is a big game. With Eovaldi on the mound and David Price stating he is available, the Yankees have a far better matchup for Game 3. And if the Yankees win, the Red Sox are facing elimination in Yankee Stadium so guess who will likely take the mound?
With a Yankees lead of 2-1, the Sox will likely send Sale out for Game 4 and worry about Game 5 later. Luckily for the Yankees, they know that any other Red Sox starter is free game for them while Sale has always been a challenge. They could catch a big break should they win Monday night.
But as Yogi Berra always said, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. And he’s absolutely correct. However, for the Yankees, they are entering Game 3 in the best position they could be.
Taking one of two in Boston is a huge accomplishment and now it’s time to finish the job at home. Luckily, they’ve got a little bit of an advantage. Anything can happen but your money has to be on the Yankees.