The New York Yankees visit the Boston Red Sox for the third time in as many days as these AL East rivals conclude the first set of their 19th game regular season series.

The Yankees tied the season series at 1-1 on Wednesday, beating the Red Sox 10-7 in a fight-marred contest. One day earlier, the Red Sox annihilated the Yankees 14-1 to win their 9th game in a row and move to 9-1 for the first time in franchise history.

Series Tied

Mookie Betts’ had a monster game on Tuesday as he went 4-4 and drove in four runs. Betts hit two doubles in the game but it was his grand slam, the third of his career, that broke the game wide open in the sixth inning and turned the first meeting between these bitter rivals into a blowout. The Yankees fired back at the Red Sox in Game 2.

Gary Sanchez who hit two home runs and accounted for 4 RBIs for the Yankees. Giancarlo Stanton also went 3-5 with 3 RBIs in Game 2 as New York scored four runs off David Price in the first inning. After Price exited the game with a tingling sensation in his pitching hand, New York pounded Boston’s bullpen by scoring four more runs in the next three innings.

Heating Up The Rivalry

This storied rivalry heated up again on Wednesday after Tyler Austin triggered a bench-clearing brawl when he rushed the mound after getting hit by a pitch from Red Sox reliever Joe Kelly in the seventh inning. Four innings earlier, Austin’s spikes came in contact with Boston shortstop Brock Holt as he went for a slide at second base.

Both squads felt differently about the play and that might have led to the other incident. There’s no telling if this bad blood will spill over in Thursday’s series finale. But that should make the game more interesting.

The Starters

Right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray will make his third start of the season for the Yankees. Gray is 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA this season. He is 1-4 with a 4.93 ERA in six career starts against the Red Sox. In their last three meetings, Gray is 1-2 against the Red Sox, giving up a total of 9 earned runs in 18 innings pitched. He is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA at Fenway Park.

Fellow right-hander Rick Porcello will start for the Red Sox. Porcello has won his last two starts this season and has a record of 2-0 with an ERA of 2.84. He is 8-8 with an ERA of 3.27 against the Yankees. Likewise, Porcello is 1-2 in his last three starts against the Yankees. In those three games, Porcello gave up a total of 7 runs in 18.1 innings pitched.

Ket Hitters

The Yankees have scored at least four runs in six of their last nine games played. When they score than three runs this season, New York is 6-2. Aaron leads the Yankees with 16 hits with 8 RBIs this season. On the other hand, Didi Gregorius and Giancarlo Stanton lead New York with 12 and 10 RBIs respectively. The man to watch though is left fielder Brett Gardner who has a career batting record of 12-34 ( .304 ) with two home runs against Porcello.

The Red Sox have not yet lost back to back games this season and have scored 29 runs in their last three games. Against Gray, look out for Andrew Benintendi who is a 4-6 lifetime ( .667 ) with a home run against Sonny Gray. It’s interesting to note too that Mitch Moreland, who is just 6-25 ( .240 ) in his career against Gray has four home runs against the Vanderbilt product.

Odds And Prediction

The Red Sox are the slight favorites here at -115 while the Yankees aren’t far behind at +105. Boston is the AL East leader at 9-2 while the Yankees are in third place at 6-6. Boston is coming off their first home loss of the season after four straight wins while the Yankees improved to 4-2 away from home after Wednesday’s win.

Consistency is the key here. The Red Sox have been more consistent this season and they also have the more consistent pitcher starting the game. The Yankees have been slow off the gates and are just hitting .239 in 184 at-bats against Porcello. I’m picking the Red Sox to pick up win number 10 of the season.

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