The response from New York has been 15 wins in 16 games for one of the best stretches in team history.
Although it’s a May series, there seems to be more buzz for the latest installment of the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees, starting with the opener of a three-game series Tuesday at Yankee Stadium.
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“Look, Red Sox-Yankees is always big, and obviously they’re a great team,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “So we understand there will be a lot of excitement around it. There will be more eyes on this one and that’s what you love about being a part of this.”
The longtime rivals will enter with the best records in baseball. Boston is 25-9 and the Yankees are 24-10 heading into the second series of the season.
When the Red Sox took two of three from the Yankees on April 10-12, they were 10-2 and the Yankees were 5-6. Since then, Boston is 15-7 while New York is 19-4.
When the Red Sox opened 17-2, they bolted to a seven-game lead over the Yankees. Now it is a one-game difference between the rivals.
Boston’s start is its best since winning 25 of its first 34 games in 2002. The Red Sox took three of four at Texas last weekend and finished the series with a 6-1 victory when Chris Sale struck out 12 and Mitch Moreland drove in three runs.
“They’re rolling, we’re catching our stride again, and it’ll be fun,” Sale said.
Boston’s Mookie Betts went 1-for-2 and is hitting .355 with 13 homers and 26 RBIs. He also left Sunday’s game with a shoulder contusion after getting hit by a throw.
“He didn’t feel great,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “So I just took him out. Just makes sense for us. A day and a half off. It should be something day to day. Hopefully ready for Tuesday.”
Betts went 5-for-13 with a homer and seven RBIs last month against the Yankees.
While the Red Sox were winning the final three games after an 11-5 loss on Thursday, the Yankees completed a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians by winning differently each time.
After blowing a five-run lead Friday and getting no-hit until the fifth inning on Saturday, the Yankees erased a four-run deficit by scoring seven times in the final two innings and posted a 7-4 win when rookie Gleyber Torres hit a three-run homer in the ninth.
Torres (21 years, 144 days) became the youngest Yankee to hit a walk-off homer, and New York is 14-1 since he joined the team on April 22.
New York is on its best 16-game run since also going 15-1 from Sept. 1 to 17, 1980, and off to its best start since 2003. During this streak, the Yankees are outscoring opponents 98-37, with 49 of the runs occurring in the seventh inning or later.
“I don’t think there’s ever a time, in any game, no matter what the score is, where we’re thinking, ‘Oh, maybe not today,” Yankees first baseman Tyler Austin said. “I think no matter the situation, no matter how many we’re down, we feel like for the most part, we can come back in that game.”
Austin was in the middle of a bench-clearing brawl in Boston on April 11 when he charged the mound after being hit in the side by a Joe Kelly fastball. Kelly and Austin served suspensions for the incident.
Severino is 5-1 with a 2.11 ERA through his first seven starts and is coming off his first career complete-game shutout. In Wednesday’s 4-0 win at Houston, he threw a 110-pitch five-hitter while getting 10 strikeouts.
Severino’s only loss at Boston occurred when he allowed five runs and eight hits in five innings of a 14-1 defeat on April 10. Since then, he owns a 1.24 ERA in his last four starts.
The right-hander is 2-5 with a 4.82 ERA in nine career appearances (eight starts) against the Red Sox. He made his major league debut at Yankee Stadium against Boston on Aug. 5, 2015, but is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA there against the Red Sox.
Several Red Sox have done well against Severino. Andrew Benintendi homered twice off him Aug. 12 in New York and is 8-for-16 with nine RBIs. Betts is 6-for-19 (.316) and Hanley Ramirez is 6-for-21 (.286).
Pomeranz is making his fourth start since returning from a strained forearm. He is 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in his first three outings.
The left-hander last pitched in a 5-4 win over the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday when he allowed three runs and eight hits in six innings.
Pomeranz is 2-2 with a 3.47 ERA in nine career starts against the Yankees.
Despite Pomeranz’s decent numbers against the Yankees, he has struggled against Brett Gardner, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez. Gardner is hitting .346 (9-for-26), Gregorius is batting .381 (8-for-21) and Sanchez is batting .389 (7-for-18) with three homers and six RBIs.