For the fourth time in their storied rivalry, the Red Sox and New York Yankees will meet in the postseason - this one a best-of-five American League Division Series starting Friday night at Fenway Park. J.D. Martinez laced a three-run homer that just cleared the top of the Green Monster in left field. The over is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these two heated foes, and this one should be filled with offense.
23-9 in Tanaka's last 32 starts following a team loss in their previous game.
In an aggressive move, Alex Cora went to Game 3 starter Rick Porcello to pitch the eighth inning. Saturday marked the first time in 299 career starts overall in which he's failed to record a strikeout. David Price has struggled against the Yankees this season, and the Yankees lineup is hitting a combined.318 against the left-hander, plus the over went 3-0-1 in his four starts against NY this season. However, some of his worst starts of the season came against the Yankees, including an outing in mid-September when he gave up six runs (four earned) over 5.1 innings. He has a career 2.98 ERA against Boston. Much like Price, he hit a few speed bumps early in the year but settled in late. Also like Price, he had some hiccups against the lineup he'll face on Saturday. Both runners ended up scoring, leaving Sale's final line at 5 1/3 innings, five hits, and two runs.
The Dodgers managed 10 hits in their first two Division Series games against the Braves, but five were homers (plus two doubles), and combined with Ryu and Kershaw dominating they lead the series two-games-to-none.
The other pitches looked good, too. However, he could hold the key to the Yankees getting back in this series.
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"Obviously it's something I didn't like and that I didn't want to go through", Sale said. Sanchez's second homer, a three-run shot in the seventh that made it 6-1, was projected at 479 feet. That may be a small sample, but it's impossible to ignore the success Sanchez has had when facing Price. If they want to go deep in these playoffs, they will have to go long. The best home records in the majors this year: 1) Red Sox 57-24. Cora then turned to Craig Kimbrel for the four-out save, and though the closer was shaky, he got the job done. Knuckleballer Steven Wright was supposed to be a key part of Boston's bullpen but he's now likely to be replaced on the roster.
Chris Sale gave the Red Sox something they hadn't seen since the 2013 World Series: a gutsy playoff start. Tanaka's postseason history is far better than Price's playoff past, which favors the Yankees, who also have Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances fully rested in their bullpen.
While the Yankees bullpen took care of the last five innings Wednesday night, the Red Sox enter the postseason loaded with pen questions.
Note: This prediction is the opinion of the author and not necessarily the prediction of Jon Price or Sports Information Traders.