Austin Brice (0-0, 7.71 ERA) vs. James Paxton (0-1, 27.00 ERA)
The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees close out the weekend on Sunday Night Baseball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are seeking a three-game sweep over their rivals following wins of 5-1 and 5-2. The pitching has been excellent for the Yankees over the last two days. Jordan Montgomery handled business for the Yanks on Friday, and then Masahiro Tanaka followed up on Saturday. I’m not going to give too much praise to Tanaka because he was pulled after only 2.2 innings of work. The Yankees did not want to overwork Tanaka, and they yanked him at the first sense of danger.
Tanaka gave up 4 hits, 1 walk, and 1 earned runs in his time on the mound. If he were to stay out there, then it’s unlikely that Tanaka would have gotten away with just 1 earned run on the board. A lot of credit should be given to the Yankees’ bullpen. They hung in there and delivered a standout performance. Three different relievers combined to concede just 2 hits across 6.1 innings on the hill. The Yankees stomped all over Red Sox starter Zack Goldey. In 3.1 innings, the Yankees racked up 6 hits and 5 runs on Godley. The game was effectively over after the 2nd frame.
The Yankees appear like the best of the best right now in the major leagues. They’re 6-1 with just one loss against the Washington Nationals last Saturday. Since losing 9-2 to the Nationals, the Yankees have been in good form with five straight wins. Two games were postponed against the Philadelphia Phillies because of the Miami Marlins situation.
The Marlins were using the Phillies’ facilities on a road trip there, so games had to be canceled before another outbreak was on Major League Baseball’s hands. Paxton is the only starting pitcher on the Yankees to experience a loss this season. He will be called on Sunday night at home to bounce back. The Red Sox might implement a bullpen game, with Austin Brice handling the first inning or two. If Brice is rolling, maybe that is subject to change, though. Head below for our free Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees pick for August 2, 2020.
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Bad starts are going to happen even to the best of pitchers. However, even in bad performances, you try to find some silver linings and something good to take out of it. For James Paxton, there wasn’t much to like in his season opening performance against the Nationals. He posted an ERA of 27.00 and 6.00 WHIP after lasting just 1 inning.
The Nats were able to exploit Paxton for 5 hits, a walk, and 3 earned runs. He was up and down as a first-year Yankee in 2019, but ultimately ended the season with a respectable ERA of 3.82 and 1.28 WHIP. This season is a bit trickier for Paxton because he’s coming off back surgery in February.
The first indications from his first start is that his velocity was down considerably. Whether that’s because of back surgery or not remains to be seen, but he certainly was leaving some juicy pitchers right out there over the plate for the Nationals to kill. J. D. Martinez has been a dangerous hitter against Paxton.
He’s knocked him around for a .412 batting average and 2 home runs in 17 at-bats. Martinez has been cold recently, but this might be a good spot for him to warm up and get going with Paxton on the bump. They are likely going to need to put up plenty of run support for Austin Brice and the Red Sox bullpen. Brice enters tonight with an ERA of 7.71 after four outings as a reliever. He’s allowed 5 hits and 4 earned runs in 4.2 innings, and will most likely be used as the opening pitcher tonight for at least an inning.
As a team, it hasn’t been a good collective effort by Boston pitching. They’ve been one of the worst units in the majors with an ERA of 5.35 and 1.49 WHIP. The bullpen got out of last night without much damage sustained versus a dangerous Yankees’ offense, but doing it in consecutive days might be difficult. We should have some fireworks between the Red Sox and Yankees on Sunday Night Baseball.