After a devastating loss to Boston on Thursday night, the Yankees have two rookies toeing the rubber, Luis Cessa and Bryan Mitchell, before CC Sabathia takes the mound in the series finale. The pitching, obviously important, is not where the Yankees have their best chance to return the favor to the Red Sox.
The Yankees entered the series needing to win three out of four to make a statement in the postseason race. Masahiro Tanaka's gritty effort should have resulted in one of the victories, but questionable bullpen management and Dellin Betances' performance created a hard to swallow two-game swing in the standings.
Thursday night's loss marks the Yankees' fourth in their last five games, but somehow they have to put the toughest loss of the season behind them. The best way for the Yankees to boost morale is with a convincing victory Friday and to ride that to a better finish than how the series opener concluded.
In the next three games, the Yanks face a trio of starters very susceptible to allowing runs.
Clay Buchholz enters Friday's game with a 5.31 ERA and he's only in the Red Sox rotation due to the injury to Steven Wright. David Price is 16-8, but owns a 3.81 ERA, benefitting from the Red Sox offense. The Yankees are very familiar with Price and have had success against him this season (.356/.405/.521 slash line in three starts) Finally, Drew Pomeranz's time in Boston has not gone as smoothly as it had in San Diego (4.60 ERA in 58 2/3 innings).
The Yankees offense had several opportunities to blow Thursday's game wide-open but failed to capitalize. Expecting to keep the Red Sox offense down is unreasonable, but outhitting them, however difficult, might be their only option to win the series.
If there is a time for the Yankees offense to find some rhythm and take advantage of the hurlers stacked against them it is now.