Wednesday nightâ€™s display of bombs and brawn will be hard to top in Thursdayâ€™s action between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, who are locked in a heated three game series tied at 1-1 at Fenway Park.
The game on Wednesday featured Gary Sanchez busting out of his slump with two homers and a double, a first inning drubbing of David Price, who left the game with â€œsensationsâ€ in his handâ€”-wonder if the Yankee bats (which put up 4 runs on 3 hits with a homer) had something to do with thatâ€”- and two, count â€˜em two, bench-clearing brawls.
Masahiro Tanaka continued to be plagued by the long ball and was the second Yankee pitcher in as many days to give up a grand slam to the Red Sox, this time from the bat of J.D. Martinez. Still, he was the winning pitcher at the end of the day, the beneficiary of the big bats igniting the offense: Judge was 2-4 with a walk, Giancarlo Stanton 2-5 with three RBIs and Sanchez was 3-5, with the two homers and a double.
What to expect from the rubber game of the series today?
Secondly, with Sonny Gray on the mound for the Yankees, expect to see Andrew Benintendi back in the lineup for the Red Sox as heâ€™s batting .667 off Gray with a home run. J.D. Martinez, Hanley Ramirez and Mitch Moreland have all homered off Gray in their careers.
According to MLB.com, Gray is 1-4 with a 4.93 ERA in six career starts against Boston, and he is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA in three starts at Fenway Park.
While last season, Gray suffered from a lack of run support in his starts after coming over to the Yankees from the Oakland Athletics, Yankee fans can only hope today that the offensive juggernaut that was kick-started by Sanchez in last nightâ€™s game will be in full force again.
Rick Porcello matches up against Gray today. Porcello won his first two games of the season and is off to a hot start, but he is 8-8 in his career against the Yankees with a 3.27 ERA.
Porcello, the 2016 Cy Young Award winner, is a ground ball pitcher, relying on a sinking two-seam fastball (90 mph), a four seam fastball (91-93 mph), a circle change up (80 mph) and a curveball (upper 70s mph). Among current Yankees, Brett Gardner has had the most success in his career against Porcello, going 14-46 with two homers and a .304 average.
Look for the game to once again be a highly combustible affair with plenty of offensive fireworks, especially now that Judge, Stanton and Sanchez all appear to be swinging hot bats.