A look at the best-of-five American League Division Series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox:
Schedule: (All times EDT) Game 1, Friday, at Boston, 7:32 p.m.; Game 2, Saturday, at Boston, 8:15 p.m.; Game 3, Monday, Oct. 8, at New York, TBA; x-Game 4, Tuesday, Oct. 9, at New York, TBA; x-Game 5, Thursday, Oct. 11, at Boston, TBA. (All games on TBS).
Season Series: Red Sox won 10-9.
Yankees: LF Andrew McCutchen (.255, 20 HRs, 65 RBIs for Pirates and Yankees), RF Aaron Judge (.278, 27, 67, 152 Ks in 112 games), CF Aaron Hicks (.248, 27, 79 in 137 games), DH Giancarlo Stanton (.266, 38, 100, 211 Ks), 1B Luke Voit (.322, 15, 36 in 47 games for Cardinals and Yankees; .333, 14, 33 in 39 games with Yankees), SS Didi Gregorius (.268, 27, 86 in 134 games), 3B Miguel Andujar (.297, 27, 92, 47 2Bs), C Gary Sanchez (.186, 18, 53 in 89 games), 2B Gleyber Torres (.271, 24, 77 in 123 games).
Red Sox: RF Mookie Betts (.346, 32, 80, 129 runs, 30 steals), LF Andrew Benintendi (.290, 16, 87), DH J.D. Martinez (.330, 43, 130), SS Xander Bogaerts (.288, 23, 103), 1B Mitch Moreland (.245, 15, 68), 2B Ian Kinsler (.240, 14, 48 with Angels and Red Sox), 3B Rafael Devers (.240, 21, 66), C Sandy Leon (.177, 5, 22), CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (.234, 13, 59).
Yankees: LH J.A. Happ (17-6, 3.65 ERA for Blue Jays and Yankees; 7-0, 2.69 in 11 starts with Yankees), RH Masahiro Tanaka (12-6, 3.75), RH Luis Severino (19-8, 3.39, 220 Ks), LH CC Sabathia (9-7, 3.65).
Red Sox: LH Chris Sale (12-4, 2.11, 237 Ks in 158 IP), LH David Price (16-7, 3.58, 177 Ks in 176 IP), RH Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.28, 190 Ks in 191 1/3 IP), RH Nathan Eovaldi (6-7, 3.81 with Red Sox and Rays).
Yankees: LH Aroldis Chapman (3-0, 2.45, 32/34 saves, .136 BA against, 93 Ks in 51 1/3 IP), RH Dellin Betances (4-6, 2.70, 4 saves, 115 Ks in 66 2/3 IP), LH Zach Britton (2-0, 3.10, 7/10 saves for Orioles and Yankees), RH David Robertson (8-3, 3.23, 5 saves), RH Chad Green (8-3, 2.50), RH Jonathan Holder (1-3, 3.14), RH Lance Lynn (10-10, 4.77 for Cardinals and Yankees).
Red Sox: RH Craig Kimbrel (5-1, 2.74, 42/47 saves), RH Matt Barnes (6-4, 3.65), RH Ryan Brasier (2-1, 1.60), RH Steven Wright (3-1, 2.68), RH Joe Kelly (4-2, 4.39), RH Brandon Workman (6-1, 3.27), LH Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5, 3.82, 146 Ks, 129 2/3 IP in 27 games, 23 starts).
Longtime storied and bitter rivals meet in postseason for fourth time, first in a best-of-five series. The others were all best-of-seven. Last playoff matchup was 14 years ago. … New York won 1999 AL Championship Series 4-1 over Boston before teams had pair of epic ALCS struggles back-to-back years in 2003 and 2004. New York won heated 2003 classic at home on extra-inning homer in Game 7 by Aaron Boone, now the team’s rookie manager, off Tim Wakefield. The next year, David Ortiz, Curt Schilling and Johnny Damon led Red Sox to unprecedented comeback from 3-0 deficit with Game 7 win at Yankee Stadium. Boston went on to win World Series for first time in 86 years. … Teams also played famous regular-season tiebreaker for 1978 AL East title at Fenway Park after New York made up huge deficit in standings down the stretch. Go-ahead home run by light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent over Green Monster in left field helped Yankees rally to win on way to second consecutive World Series crown. … Division rivals are 57-57 head to head since 2013. … Boston skipper Alex Cora also in first year as a major league manager. … Red Sox essentially put away Yankees in AL East race this year with four-game sweep at Fenway Park in early August. … New York took two of three in Boston to close regular season, but Red Sox had already wrapped up home-field advantage throughout postseason. Victory in series opener clinched home field in wild-card game for Yankees. … Last year, Boston ended regular season against Houston before teams met in playoffs. Astros eliminated Red Sox en route to World Series championship. … Yankees are 7-0 at home in postseason the past two years. … Yankees hit major league-record 267 home runs this season but aren’t much of a threat on the bases with only 63 steals. … Happ went 1-1 with 1.99 ERA in four starts vs. Red Sox this year and is 8-4 with 2.98 ERA against them in his career. … In first taste of rivalry, Stanton batted .371 with five homers, 17 RBIs and 1.123 OPS against Boston this year, including .486 average with 1.298 OPS in nine games at Fenway. … Price has struggled against New York since joining the Red Sox, especially at Yankee Stadium.
Yankees: Reliant on the home run, the Bronx Bombers wanted the win-or-go-home AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium, where they were 53-28 during the regular season. Playing before a revved-up crowd, they beat Oakland 7-2 behind home runs from Judge and Stanton, and a two-run triple by Voit. It was the third time in four years Yankees hosted the wild-card game. They lost to Houston in 2015 and rallied from an early deficit to defeat Minnesota last season. … New York became the first team to hit 20 or more home runs from all nine slots in the batting order, a big reason behind the Yankees’ 100-62 record, their best since winning the 2009 World Series. Still, they finished way behind rival Boston in the AL East. … Several key players are coming off injuries, but the Yankees got healthy just in time. Judge missed seven weeks with a broken right wrist, returned in mid-September and hit .220 with one homer and six RBIs in 13 games. Gregorius missed five games in late September after tearing cartilage in his right wrist while sliding across home plate to score the run that clinched a postseason berth. Hicks, who doubled in Gregorius with that run, missed three games during the final week with left hamstring tightness. Chapman did not pitch between Aug. 21 and Sept. 20 because of left knee tendinitis. All of them were able to play in the wild-card game. … Last year’s NL MVP, Stanton was acquired from Miami in a blockbuster trade during the offseason. He homered in his playoff debut Wednesday night against Oakland. … Boone replaced Joe Girardi as Yankees manager last offseason.
Red Sox: In winning their third straight AL East title and setting a franchise record for wins, the Red Sox (108-54) improved by 15 victories over their 2017 record. … Finished eight games ahead of the Yankees, their largest AL East victory margin. The previous high was seven games in 1995. … Spent 141 of the season’s 186 days alone in first place and another seven in a tie for first, taking sole possession of the division lead for good on July 2. … Twelve teams in baseball history have won as many as 108 games. Seattle won 116 in 2001 but lost in ALCS to the Yankees. The previous four won the World Series. … Following a sensational regular season, Red Sox are looking to make a deep run in October. They were knocked out in Division Series each of last two years, by Houston last season and Cleveland in 2016, while going 1-6 overall. … Boston completed the season without losing four in a row. It was the only team in baseball to go all season without losing four straight. It also accomplished that in 1903 and 2013, winning the World Series in both years. … It’s the fifth time the Red Sox have had the best record in baseball by themselves (1903, 1912, 1915, 1946). … Cora had the second-most wins for a first-year manager. Ralph Houk’s 1961 Yankees won 109 games. … Boston’s 57-24 record at home was the best in baseball. … The last Red Sox player before Betts to win the AL batting title was Bill Mueller, with a .326 average in 2003. Wade Boggs was the previous Boston player to lead the majors, hitting .366 in 1988. … Ted Williams (four times) and Jimmie Foxx (1938) are the only other Red Sox players to hit .340 or higher with 80 or more extra-base hits. … Martinez led the majors with 130 RBIs and 358 total bases. His 43 homers were the most for a player in his first year with the Red Sox. … Ten grand slams is the second-highest total in franchise history; the 2005 team hit 11. … The Red Sox led baseball with 876 runs, 355 doubles and 594 extra-base hits.
— Red Sox Starters. There isn’t a single pitcher in the Boston rotation who has won a postseason start. They are a combined 0-19. Price has won two games as a reliever, and pitched well in two relief appearances during last year’s ALDS against Houston. Sale gave up seven runs over five innings in Game 1 against the Astros last year in his first career playoff appearance, but pitched well in relief on three days’ rest before running out of gas in his fifth inning. The seven-time All-Star was sidelined by injury in the second half this season and had a very limited workload. Whether he will be at the top of his game in October remains to be seen.
— Young Stars. The Yankees’ lineup was invigorated by two rookies who came up early this season in Andujar and Torres. Andujar’s 47 doubles broke the franchise rookie record set by Joe DiMaggio in 1936. The energetic Voit, an under-the-radar July acquisition from St. Louis, has filled the offensive void at first base created by Greg Bird’s season-long slump.
— Boston Bullpen. The biggest — or maybe only — weakness on the best team in baseball, the Red Sox don’t really have a set routine to bridge the gap from the starters to Kimbrel. Cora is hoping experienced starters Rodriguez and Wright can account for some of those innings.
— Whoops. Sanchez’s defense has remained a problem for the Yankees. His 18 passed balls were five more than any other big league catcher, raising his two-year total to 34. He also was behind the plate for 45 wild pitches in 76 games, raising his two-year total to 98 allowed. He does have a powerful arm and threw out 12 of 40 runners attempting to steal. And he delivered a solid performance on defense in the wild-card game.
— Betts On It. The likely AL MVP, Betts has a six-game postseason hitting streak — that’s six of his seven career playoff games. He has three extra-base hits, all doubles. The Red Sox are hoping he can continue to get on base to set the table for Martinez, who has three homers in seven postseason games.
Source: The Associated Press