Friday night in the Bronx, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox rekindle their historic rivalry at Yankee Stadium. It is the first meeting of the season between the two AL East clubs. Roughly one out of every 7.5 games the Yankees and Red Sox play the rest of the season will be against each other. They're about to see each other an awful lot.
The Yankees have played quite well since the calendar turned to May and they currently sit in third place in the AL East, and in the third and final wild-card spot. The Red Sox have stumbled badly during that time and are in last place. This series represents a great opportunity for Boston to gain ground on the Yankees in the wild-card race. It's an important series, for sure.
Here are the details for this weekend's Yankees vs. Red Sox series in the Bronx. Select games can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).
|Date||Start time||Starting pitchers||TV|
Fri., June 9
7:05 p.m. ET
YES, NESN, MLBN
Sat., June 10
7:35 p.m. ET
Sun., June 11
7:10 p.m. ET
Whitlock is a former Yankees prospect -- Boston selected him in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft -- who has dealt with injuries this year, his first as a full-time starter. The Schmidt vs. Bello matchup on Sunday is sneaky good. They've both pitched much better lately than their overall numbers suggest, and they both have huge arms. That's a fun one.
Here now are five things to know about this weekend's Yankees vs. Red Sox series at Yankee Stadium, with a prediction thrown in because why not?
1. The air quality should be better
With the caveat that no really knows which way the wind with blow, the air quality in New York is expected to be better this weekend than it has been the last few days. Smoke from wildfires in Canada forced several MLB games in the Northeast to the postponed because of hazardous air quality the last few days, including Wednesday's Yankees vs. Chicago White Sox game at Yankee Stadium. The two teams were able to play a doubleheader Thursday, which is a promising sign for the weekend. The AQI (air quality index) in the Bronx is already down to 64 Friday morning.
2. Cortes gave the Red Sox bulletin board material
The Yankees placed lefty Nestor Cortes on the injured list with a shoulder issue Thursday, so he will miss this weekend's series, when he said the Yankees rivalry with the Red Sox is not as fierce as their rivalry with the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays.
Honestly, Cortes is not wrong. It's been a while since the Yankees and Red Sox were both top tier contenders in the same season, and the rivalry is nowhere close to as heated as it was 15-20 years ago. That isn't to say these two teams like each other now -- they don't, trust me -- but their rivalry simply isn't particularly intense right now.
That said, I'm sure the Red Sox took notice and will use that as motivation this weekend. I mean, when a player on the opposing team says he considers other clubs a bigger rival, don't you want to show him he's wrong? Cortes won't pitch this weekend, though his presence could be felt. I'm sure the Red Sox heard what he said and want to remind the Yankees who their top rival is.
3. Judge and Sale will miss the series
Each team's most important player will be a spectator this weekend. Aaron Judge, the reigning AL MVP, is on the injured list with a toe injury suffered when he crashed into the Dodger Stadium wall last weekend. Chris Sale, who was just starting to pitch like an ace again when he landed on the injured list, has a shoulder injury.
"There's a couple things going on in there," Judge told The Athletic about his toe. "They don't want to say a timetable then it's a couple of weeks longer or a couple of weeks less. We're just kind of waiting on a lot of the inflammation and swelling to go down."
Judge is unquestionably the Yankees' most important player. Given the state of Boston's rotation and the lack of another high-end starter, I contend Sale is the Red Sox's most important player, and he is still in the early stages of his recovery. Judge and Sale are likely weeks away from rejoining their teams, not days. They won't be around this weekend, that's for certain.
4. Who's hot, who's not
Baseball is a game of peaks and valleys and, inevitably, some players come into this weekend's series feeling better at the plate than others. In a week or two, things could be totally different. Such is life in this sport. Here are three Red Sox players who have been red hot at the plate the last two weeks:
Yoshida, the polarizing free agent addition, has been one of the best hitters in baseball this season, and especially over the last two weeks. He was billed as the Japanese Juan Soto during his time with the Orix Buffaloes and he's lived up to the billing in his first few months as a big leaguer. (For what it's worth, Yoshida doesn't want to be considered for Rookie of the Year.)
Wong came over with Verdugo in the Mookie Betts trade and he has taken over as Boston's starting catcher this year. He has very strong defensive numbers in addition to providing some nice pop at the bottom of the lineup. The Red Sox have several regulars who are struggling at the plate, including Rafael Devers (.231/.340/.308 the last two weeks) and Justin Turner (.250/.265/.438 the last two weeks), and Wong has helped pick up the slack.
Now here are three Yankees who enter this weekend's series having swung the bat well the last two weeks:
New York's best hitter the last two weeks (and all season) has of course been Judge, though we've already established he will miss this weekend's series. The Red Sox are catching the Yankees at a good time, because those are not the names you expect to see among New York's best hitters for any length of games. Donaldson just returned from the injured list last Friday!
The Yankees have gotten very little production from DJ LeMahieu (.192/.206/.364), Anthony Rizzo (.172/.226/.172), and Gleyber Torres (.213/.229/.213) the last two weeks and they badly need those guys to get on track with Judge sidelined. They're the veteran stalwarts, along with Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton, who are in the lineup every day. No one player can replace Judge. It will take several players stepping up and the Yankees have more than a few hitters who haven't pulled their weight lately.
5. They'll see each other again soon
The Yankees and Red Sox begin their season series this weekend at Yankee Stadium. They'll continue it next weekend at Fenway Park with a three-game set. Here's the season series schedule:
- June 9-11: 3 games at Yankee Stadium
- June 16-18: 3 games at Fenway Park
- Aug. 18-20: 3 games at Yankee Stadium
- Sept. 11-14: 4 games at Fenway Park
The Yankees will play a quick two-game series with the New York Mets at Citi Field between these two upcoming Red Sox series. The Red Sox will host the Colorado Rockies for three games in Boston between series with the Yankees. They'll play six times in the next 10 days and then not see each other for another two months. Bit of a weird schedule for the two rivals this season.
The Yankees without Judge are a much different team than the Yankees with Judge, and if he were healthy, I might have gone with a Yankees sweep here. Without Judge, I'll say the Yankees win two of three. The Yankees will take the first two behind Cole and Germán, then fail to complete the sweep Sunday. The Red Sox have played some sloppy baseball lately -- manager Alex Cora went so far as to call out the defense recently -- and that could really hurt them against an even Judge-less Yankees offense.