BOSTON (CBS) — Believe it or not, the Red Sox and Yankees are playing a meaningful series this weekend.
The upcoming three-game set at Fenway Park should have a playoff feel to it, except with warm temperatures and sunburns.READ MORE: Kyle Van Noy Hosts Christmas Party For Foster Children In Need
The Yankees are 46-39 on the season, 5.5 games up on the Red Sox in the American League East. Boston has been surging as of late, winners of eight of their last 10 and 13 of their last 19, and can cut into that division lead with a strong showing this weekend.
It’s a very important series for Boston just ahead of the All Star break, and they can head into the unofficial second half of the season on a high note by taking their fifth straight series. Or, the Yankees can knock them back down to earth and further into the AL East basement.
Here are the pitching matchups for the weekend series:
Friday, June 10 — 7:10pm
Michael Pineda (8-5, 3.79) vs. Clay Buchholz (7-6, 3.27 ERA)
Buchholz is on a roll lately, 5-0 in his last seven starts with a 2.01 ERA. He’s won four straight, allowing just three earned runs over his last 31 innings pitched, striking out 23.
He hasn’t been great throughout his career against the Yankees though, checking in at 5-8 with a 6.38 ERA in 16 starts. We’ll see if he can change that fortune this time out.
Pineda is coming off seven shutout innings against the Rays, but he was a mixed bag in June. In two of his five starts he didn’t make it to the fifth inning, and finished the month 2-3 with a 5.72 ERA.
He’s 2-2 with a 5.40 ERA in four career starts against Boston, striking out 21 in 18.1 innings pitched. Last season against the Red Sox, Pineda gave up just four earned runs in three starts while striking out 17. He pitched just 1.2 innings his second start against the Sox last season, famously getting booted for having some pine tar on his neck.
Will we see some BullFrog vs. pine tar Friday night? Probably not, but one can dream.
Key Matchup: Alex Rodriguez vs. BuchholzREAD MORE: 'Get Vaccinated And Get Boosted': Gov. Baker Pushes COVID Shots In Brockton
A-Rod is 11-for-27 with two homers and 10 RBIs in his career against Buchholz. Rodriguez is struggling to start July though, batting .217 in six games.
Saturday, June 11 — 7:15pm
Ivan Nova (1-2, 2.65 ERA) vs. Eduardo Rodriguez (4-2, 3.69 ERA)
Boston’s pitching phenom has come back down to earth a bit after three strong starts to begin his big league career, but Rodriguez has allowed just one run in each of his last two outings against the Jays and Astros. He’ll have to get over whatever causes his hiccups at Fenway, with the 22-year-old just 1-2 with a 7.52 ERA in four starts in front of the Boston crowd. He’s holding batters to a .224 average overall, but that jumps up to .280 at Fenway.
Meanwhile, Nova has made just three starts this season after returning from Tommy John surgery. He allowed two runs over his first 12 innings pitched in his first two starts, but fell to 1-2 on the season after allowing four runs (three earned) over five innings in a loss to the Rays on Sunday. In nine games against Boston, eight of which were starts, Nova is 3-3 with a 5.00 ERA.
Key Mathcup: David Ortiz vs. Nova
Big Papi is 6-for-19 with a homer, double, four RBIs and four walks against the Yankees righty.
Sunday, June 12 — 1:35pm
Nathan Eovaldi (8-2, 4.45 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (8-7, 4.50 ERA)
This will be Miley’s third start against the Yankees this season. He’s pitched fairly well against New York, holding them to five earned runs over 13.1 innings, but doesn’t have a win to show for it.
You don’t really know what you’re going to get out of Miley, who allowed three runs on seven hits in 6.2 innings Tuesday night against the Marlins. He struck out a season-high nine batters, but allowed Miami to go ahead in the seventh, walking away with a no decision thanks to Xander Bogaerts’ three-run single in bottom of the inning.
Opposing Miley in the series finale is Eovaldi, who allowed two runs off seven hits in 6.2 innings against Boston back in early May. The righty is 4-1 in his last seven starts, and 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA over his last two outings.
The Yankees love to score runs for Eovaldi, as he’s received some of the best run support in the majors. He checks in at third with 7.065 runs per nine innings.
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The New York third baseman is just 4-for-22 (.182) in his career against Miley.