The Red Sox found an antidote to the immense home-field advantage that Yankee Stadium provided for Monday’s Game 3 of the American League Division Series, handing the Bombers their most lopsided defeat in postseason history. Yet both clubs know that Monday’s 16-1 outcome only counts for one win, and that nothing has been decided yet.
“It’s happened before, some lopsided wins and then the other way around the next day,” Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts said. “We have to enjoy this for a couple more hours and be ready for the game tomorrow.”
The Yankees’ backs are against the wall once again, but that is a familiar storyline for this team. They have played and won two consecutive AL Wild Card Games, recovered from an 0-2 deficit to the Indians in last year’s ALDS, and won three straight at home last year against the Astros in the AL Championship Series before falling in Games 6 and 7 at Houston.
“That’s the beauty of baseball,” Aaron Judge said. “We’ll wake up tomorrow and it’s a brand new day, a brand new game. That’s what we’re going to do. Just get ready for tomorrow.”
What might the starting lineups look like?
Red Sox: Manager Alex Cora drew rave reviews for his four lineup changes in Game 3, with Brock Holt hitting for the first postseason cycle in history and Boston scoring 16 runs. However, with lefty CC Sabathia pitching for the Yankees, Cora could switch things around again. Holt is all but a lock to stay in the lineup, and he hit .292 in 75 plate appearances against lefties this season.
There’s a chance J.D. Martinez could play the outfield for the first time in the series, in which case Jackie Bradley Jr. would sit and Steve Pearce could DH, with Holt playing first. That would allow right-handed hitters Ian Kinsler and Eduardo Nunez to return to the lineup. Look for Sandy Leon to be back behind the plate, because Christian Vazquez hasn’t caught Rick Porcello all season.
1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Andrew Benintendi, LF
3. J.D. Martinez, RF
4. Xander Bogaerts, SS
5. Steve Pearce, DH
6. Brock Holt, 1B
7. Eduardo Nunez, 3B
8. Ian Kinsler, 2B
9. Sandy Leon, C
Yankees: Aaron Hicks is likely to return to the lineup, having received manager Aaron Boone’s stamp of approval after testing his tight right hamstring on the outfield grass prior to Game 3. Hicks’ return adds some balance to a lineup that has become exceedingly right-handed heavy with the recent additions of Andrew McCutchen and Luke Voit.
1. Andrew McCutchen, LF
2. Aaron Judge, RF
3. Aaron Hicks, CF
4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
5. Luke Voit, 1B
6. Didi Gregorius, SS
7. Miguel Andujar, 3B
8. Gary Sanchez, C
9. Gleyber Torres, 2B
Who are the starting pitchers?
Red Sox: What a time this would be for Porcello to notch his first career postseason victory. Porcello is 0-2 with a 5.85 ERA in four postseason starts. He got two big outs for the Red Sox in relief in the 5-4 win in Game 1. Porcello was tremendous against the Yankees this season, going 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in four starts.
Yankees: You know that the moment will not be too big for left-hander Sabathia (9-7, 3.65 ERA), who is putting the finishing touches on a lengthy career that will invite conversations about the Hall of Fame. That’s not foremost in the Yankees’ minds as they send him to the hill, however; he’s tasked with getting through the Red Sox order at least once and helping Boone get the ball to the vaunted bullpen.
How will the bullpens line up after the starter?
Red Sox: Thanks to Nathan Eovaldi coming up huge with seven sparkling innings in Game 3, the Red Sox didn’t use any of their leverage relievers. Cora will save the most important bullpen outs of the game for Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel. The two hard-throwing righties didn’t pitch in Game 2 either, and could each be asked to go more than one inning. Lefty David Price is available also, and it will be interesting to see how Cora might deploy him, given his considerable struggles at Yankee Stadium the last three seasons.
Yankees: It is all hands on deck for the Yankees, as there is no tomorrow if they don’t win this one. In an ideal world, Boone would get at least three innings out of Sabathia, then move the ball from Dellin Betances to David Robertson, then finish up with Zach Britton and Aroldis Chapman. Betances could provide multiple innings, as could Robertson, while Chapman would gamely take on more than three outs.
Are there any relievers who are unavailable?
Red Sox: The only relievers who pitched in Game 3 were Heath Hembree and Eduardo Rodriguez, who threw 15 pitches each. Cora will have the entire bullpen at his disposal for Game 4.
Yankees: Jonathan Holder (38 pitches) and Stephen Tarpley (31 pitches) were taxed heavily in Game 3. Lance Lynn (16 pitches) and Chad Green (29 pitches) also worked in relief of Severino, though those two hurlers both were said to be available for work in Game 2 after they pitched behind J.A. Happ in Game 1.
Any injuries of note?
Red Sox: First baseman Mitch Moreland is still iffy with a right hamstring injury he sustained in Game 2. Moreland wouldn’t have started anyway against Sabathia. He could be available to pinch-hit.
Yankees: Assuming Hicks’ hamstring gets the green light, the Yankees do not have any other significant concerns at the moment. Gregorius is continuing to receive treatment on his right wrist, but he is playable.
Who is hot and who is not?
Red Sox: Holt is smoldering hot. In his last 47 at-bats dating back to Sept. 11, the left-handed hitter has a slash line of .447/.500/.894 with five homers and 17 RBIs. Leon is the opposite of hot, with just two hits in his last 45 at-bats. Look for Cora to be aggressive in pinch-hitting for Leon, particularly after Porcello comes out of the game.
Yankees: Maybe the only bright spot offensively for the Yankees in Game 3 was that Stanton hit the ball hard twice, knocking a pair of singles. He’s now 4-for-14 in the ALDS, and is hitting .357/.402/.631 in 21 games vs. the Red Sox in 2018. Judge is 10-for-28 with four homers and 12 RBIs in eight career home playoff games. Torres has hit safely in all three ALDS games.
Anything else fans might want to know?
The pressure continues to shift from one team to the other in this series. Now, the Yankees find themselves on the brink of elimination. In the history of best-of-five series with the 2-2-1 format, clubs with a 2-1 lead going into Game 4 on the road have taken the series 19 of 27 times (70 percent). Of those 19 series victories, 15 ended in Game 4.