The Yankees are on the brink of elimination after an embarrassing 16-1 Red Sox rout in ALDS Game 3 at Yankee Stadium, the most lopsided defeat in their postseason history.
The Yankees have their backs against the wall after Boston made Aaron Boone regret sending a struggling (and possibly tardy) Luis Severino back on the mound for the fourth inning. The Sox also pummeled reliever Lance Lynn in that seven-run frame, as former Yankee Nathan Eovaldi went on to shut down his former team, while Brock Holt became the first player ever to hit for the cycle in the postseason.
Boone has opted to shake up the Yankee lineup, putting Aaron Hicks in the leadoff spot in his return from the hamstring injury he suffered in Game 1. The centerfielder forces No. 9 hitter Brett Gardner over to left field in place of Andrew McCutchen, who takes a seat on the bench. Miguel Andujar (1-for-9 in the series) will also take a seat as Neil Walker gets the start at third base.
On why he brought Gardner and Walker in for Game 4, Boone said, "Just wanted to get some more lefty balance in lineup tonight vs. Porcello. Walk's played a number of games at 3B with CC on the mound, and I just feel like it gives us a little more balance in a matchup that makes some sense."
The Yankees, now down 2-1 in the series, recovered from an 0-2 deficit to the Indians in last year's ALDS before winning three straight at home during their ALCS loss to the Astros. But in their last postseason matchup, the 2004 World Series champion Red Sox capped their unforgettable comeback from a 0-3 ALCS deficit by romping the Yankees in the Bronx in Game 7.
|Aaron Hicks, CF||Mookie Betts, RF|
|Aaron Judge, RF||Andrew Benintendi, LF|
|Didi Gregorius, SS||Steve Pearce, 1B|
|Giancarlo Stanton, DH||J.D. Martinez, DH|
|Luke Voit, 1B||Xander Bogaerts, SS|
|Neil Walker, 3B||Ian Kinsler, 2B|
|Gary Sanchez, C||Eduardo Nunez, 3B|
|Gleyber Torres, 2B||Jackie Bradley Jr., CF|
|Brett Gardner, LF||Christian Vazquez, C|
Who is starting for the Yankees?
LHP CC Sabathia (9-7, 3.65 ERA/4.16 FIP, 1.314 WHIP in 153 innings over 29 starts), whose 24th career postseason start will be his first against the Red Sox since 2007, when he was a member of the Indians. The veteran lefty looks to build off his final two starts of the regular season, when he allowed just two runs and seven hits over 11 innings. Sabathia failed to get past the fifth inning in two of his three starts against the Red Sox this year, but pitched a seven-inning, one-run beauty in Boston on June 29.
Sabathia is 2-2 with a 3.76 ERA in five postseason starts with his team facing elimination.
Who is starting for the Red Sox?
RHP Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28 ERA/4.01 FIP, 1.176 WHIP in 191.1 innings over 33 starts) gets the start after pitching two shutout innings out of the bullpen in Boston's Game 1 victory. The 29-year-old is still looking for his first postseason win in his third October with the Red Sox, but has been solid against the Yankees this year, going 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts.
Still, he has been shaky in his career at Yankee Stadium, posting a 1-4 record with a 5.56 ERA and 1.420 WHIP over 43.2 innings.
The Red Sox can return to the ALCS for the first time since their 2013 World Series season to face the defending champion Astros. A Yankee victory would force a date with Chris Sale in a winner-take-all Game 5 Thursday (7:40 p.m.) in Boston.