Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05 ERA) will lead Jacoby Ellsbury and the Yankees into battle against Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17 ERA) and the Red Sox. Tanaka will get his first taste of the Yankees/Red Sox rivalry in his fourth career start. He has been terrific so far, setting a club record with 28 K’s in his first three starts. He shutout the Cubs on two hits over eight frames his last time out.
Lester was pretty solid his last outing against the White Sox. He allowed just one run on seven hits while fanning nine and walking none in the win. Lester faced the Bombers in the Bronx earlier in the month and he walked away with a win in a 2 run 6 hit outing. He took center stage in the media the next day, not for his performance but for reportedly turning down a 4 year extension from the Sox. Contract talks between the two remains on hold.
The obvious elephant in the room is Jacoby Ellsbury walking into Fenway with New York across his chest. It will be the center of Tuesday’s action and Ellsbury is well aware of it. “Every situation is different,” Ellsbury said. “I can’t compare it with other guys’ situations, but I’m definitely aware of it. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen how passionate they are. I think they’re all wondering what’s going to happen. I’m not going to think about it too much, because it’s out of my hands. I gave that organization everything I had every time I stepped on the field.”
Ellsbury talked with another player familiar with going from the Sox to the Pinstripes, Johnny Damon, but still isn’t letting the situation distract him. “You can’t think about what they’re going to do,” Ellsbury said. “In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can’t control. We’ll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization, drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field.”
Another headline Tuesday will be Masahiro Tanaka’s first time squaring off against Boston. Tanaka said that he used to sit in front of the television to watch the epic Yankees/Red Sox rivalry from halfway around the world in Japan. “I’ve seen the two teams play, and I understand there is a certain rivalry between the two teams going into the game,” Tanaka said through an interpreter. “I’m sure the fans will be heated up a bit, and it should be a good experience going up on the mound that day. I’m very much looking forward to it.”
Notes on the game.
Tanaka has recorded at least eight strikeouts in each of his first three Major League starts, joining Stephen Strasburg (2010 Nationals) as the only two pitchers since 1900 to accomplish the feat.
Tanaka’s 28 strikeouts are a Yankees record for a pitcher in his first three starts, beating Al Leiter‘s record of 25 set in 1987.
Since September 12, 2012, the Yankees and Red Sox are locked at 14-14.
First pitch at 7:10PM on MY9