Mookie Betts is a Dodger. David Price is a Dodger who opted out of the season. Ace Chris Sale won’t pitch until next year. Eduardo Rodriguez
Mookie Betts is a Dodger. David Price is a Dodger who opted out of the season. Ace Chris Sale won’t pitch until next year. Eduardo Rodriguez, a 19-game winner last season, is done for the year due to COVID-19.
So it was not surprising the Red Sox lug a 6-13 record into Friday’s game against the Yankees and were last in the AL East, 6 ¹/₂ lengths back of the first-place Yankees.
Not exactly the way the best rivalry in baseball usually exists in the middle of August.
With the Red Sox visiting Yankee Stadium for a second time this weekend for four games after being swept in a three-game series bridging July and August, a former Yankee and Red Sox reliever pointed to another reason the rivalry lacks juice: no flesh in the seats at Fenway and the Stadium.
“Even when we were playing and every year it went down to the wire, the fans made the rivalry,’’ Mike Stanton said via phone Thursday afternoon. “In Fenway the fans were screaming and yelling and at the Stadium.’’
Johnny Damon, who played for each side of the rivalry, says the lack of energy created by the crowds voicing strong opinions and other verbal lobs from the seats is a reason for a calmer setting.
“I am not sure how they are playing because a big part of those games was the fans going crazy,’’ Damon said. “It’s tough to get yourself going and there is no home-field advantage.’’
After Wednesday’s 6-3 win over the Braves, Aaron Boone was asked about Aaron Judge’s lower-body tightness, which kept the right fielder out of the victory, and where he stood for Friday night’s game against the Red Sox.
“Nothing new and I don’t know about Friday,’’ Boone said.
Based on Clint Frazier’s 3-for-4 game Wednesday that included a home run, it is possible Frazier will be in Boone’s lineup somewhere against the Red Sox. He filled in for Judge in right on Wednesday.
Aroldis Chapman is slated to face live hitters Friday at the alternate site in Scranton. If that goes well, there is a possibility the Yankees’ closer could come off the injured list this weekend and be ready to face the Red Sox.
If that happens, Boone said the lefty will take over the closing duties from Zack Britton, who has converted all seven save chances filling in for Chapman. Those seven saves lead the AL.
“Brit will go into that role that he has been so valuable for us. On a given day it will be saving a game like he has done so well,’’ Boone said of Britton, whose one tough outing resulted in a loss to the Rays last Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla., but wasn’t in a save situation. “Obviously we miss Chappy and obviously [his return] makes our bullpen stronger and deeper. We are fortunate to have a dominant reliever in Zack who has not only filled in but flourished in that role.’’