The New York Yankees aren’t going to catch the Boston Red Sox for the AL East. That ship left the port a while ago, as the Red Sox were just too much to play catch-up against. What they can do is secure homefield against at Yankee Stadium for the Wild Card Game. The Oakland Athletics won’t go away behind them and they’re doing their best to clinch. If they win one more game, or the Athletics lose a game, the Wild Card play-in game will be at Yankee Stadium.
It doesn’t necessarily mean that the Athletics are going to be an easy out, though. The Yankees will have to come ready to play against a team that has severely flown under the radar. On paper alone, the Yankees look much more impressive than the A’s. However, there are many other teams that look better on paper that won’t be playing in the postseason.
The Athletics have been known for making the most out of rosters that don’t typically look too impressive. Even the starting rotation won’t turn any heads. Mike Fiers won a World Series with the Astros last season despite not contributing anything. This year he could be starting in a postseason game at Yankee Stadium with the right to do on to the ALDS. The rest of their rotation consists of Brett Anderson, Edwin Jackson, and Trevor Cahill. They lost Sean Manaea earlier this season, but it hasn’t seemed to bother them.
It isn’t a lock that the A’s will be going with Fiers, and the Yanks might be looking at J.A. Happ to get the nod for them. When the Yankees traded for Happ, it seemed a little crazy to think that he could be their starter in a do-or-die situation, but Luis Severino and Tanaka haven’t provided much confidence to give them a go. Both teams may end up using the “bullpenning” approach in the Wild Card Game.
If Happ is as hot as he’s been, the Yankees may want to keep him in, though. Happ gets the start tonight, while the Red Sox will counter with Brian Johnson. The Yanks are coming off an easy win against the Rays yesterday, 12-1, while the Red Sox had the day off following a split in a double-header against the Orioles on Wednesday. Get our free Yankees vs. Red Sox pick for Friday night below.
N.Y. Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox Pick
J.A. Happ (16-6, 3.57 ERA) vs. Brian Johnson (4-4, 4.11 ERA)
Last year the Yankees acquired Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics and he turned out to be a colossal flop. The pressure of pitching in New York just ended up getting to him. This season they went in a cheaper direction by dealing with the Blue Jays for Happ, which has worked out brilliantly for Happ and the Yankees.
Happ has posted an ERA of 2.34 with the Yanks and an overall ERA of 3.57. He has been at his best recently, with only 2 runs allowed in his last four starts. In his last three outings, he’s been difficult to score on, with an ERA of 0.53 across 17 innings of work. Happ has been excellent on the road as well, with an ERA of 2.29 and 1.06 WHIP.
The Yankees’ offense has been on fire the past few days. They’ve scored a total of 28 runs in the last three games for an average of 9.33 runs per game. Aaron Judge in the lineup changes everything for the Yankees. They will look to tame Brian Johnson, who was demoted to the bullpen after a rough outing against the White Sox.
He gave up 7 hits and 4 runs in just 1.1 innings. And after an ERA of 7.20 and 2.00 WHIP in his previous three starts, the Red Sox put him in the bullpen for a few games. He faced the Yankees on August 2nd and they got to him for 6 hits and 4 runs in 5 innings. Johnson owns a 4.37 ERA and 1.31 at Fenway this season. With more on the line for the Yankees, I think they get this final series of the regular season started with a win at Fenway.