The Yankees pummeled the Athletics 7-2 on Wednesday in the American League Wild Card Game and earned the right to face the Red Sox in the AL Division Series, which starts Friday.
For Boston, Friday’s game marks the club’s 24th postseason appearance, their 10th in the last 16 seasons. It’s also Boston’s third straight postseason appearance, the longest such streak in franchise history. The Sox join the Cubs, Dodgers and Indians, who have also made the postseason from 2016-18.
The Red Sox will go with Chris Sale as its ALDS Game 1 starter. Sale was 2-0 in two starts vs New York this season with an 0.69 ERA. Over his career he owns a 1.61 ERA against the Yankees, the lowest mark in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) among those who have made at least 10 starts.
Sale lead all major league pitchers with at least 150.0 innings pitched this season in strikeouts per 9.0 IP (13.50) and WHIP (0.86). Sale ranked second in opponent AVG and OPS (.181/.532), and was third-best in ERA (2.11) among that group.
New York has not yet announced a starter but it’s widely expected to be J.A. Happ, who was 7-0 with a 2.69 ERA in 11 starts since being acquired by New York on July 26. Over his career against the Sox, Happ has been tough, going 8-4 with a 2.98 ERA in 21 total appearances, including 5-2 with a 3.27 ERA in 10 games at Fenway Park.
Happ has appeared in 10 previous postseason games (three starts) for the Phillies and Blue Jays. He’s 1-1 with a 3.72 ERA in those games.
Ready to Rumble
The dynamic duo of Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez anchored the Red Sox offensive production all season. Betts (.346 AVG/..640 SLG) & Martinez (.330 AVG/.629 SLG) finished the regular season ranked first and second in the major leagues, respectively, in batting average and in slugging percentage. According to Elias, this is the first time teammates have finished first and second in both categories in the same season since 1903, when the Pirates Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke did so.
Surprisingly, the 2018 ALDS will mark the first such series between Boston and New York. The club have faced off in the AL Championship Series three times (1999, 2003 and 2004). Head to head since 2013, the Sox and Yanks are 57-57.