BOSTON — Two right-handers with something to prove will be on the mound on Tuesday night when the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox start the latest chapter in their long rivalry.
For the Yankees, hard-throwing Luis Severino hopes to continue to prove he belongs in the rotation for a team aiming to continue to prove it has enough starting pitching to compete.
For the Red Sox, reigning Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello hopes to continue what he hopes is the climb back to showing last season’s 22-4 record was no fluke.
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Severino comes in with a 1-1 mark with a 4.05 ERA in his three starts on the young season. He has struck out 27 in 20 innings, with 21 strikeouts over the last two starts. He lost his last time out, but pitched a career-high eight innings, struck out 10 and didn’t walk a batter while allowing two home runs to the Chicago White Sox.
“His stuff was as good tonight as we’ve seen it, and I thought he pitched as well tonight as we’ve seen,” manager Joe Girardi said after that game.
“It’s unfortunate we didn’t turn the double play in the seventh. It changed the complexion of the inning, but I thought his stuff was really good tonight.”
Porcello (1-1) allowed three unearned runs in the second inning — courtesy of two infield errors — and then shut the Toronto Blue Jays down the rest of his seven innings in his last start.
No earned runs in seven innings only brought his ERA down to 7.56.
“I felt good,” Porcello said after that game. “Obviously, that second inning, some things happened, they got some hits with runners on base, but really for the most part the entire game I felt pretty good, I was able to control some of the momentum that they were trying to build. It was a good one to build on.”
The Yankees are 11-7, surprising to some, but are 8-1 at home and only 3-6 on the road after dropping two of three over the weekend in Pittsburgh. They have three at Boston and then come home for three against the Baltimore Orioles and three more against the Blue Jays.
“It’s an important stretch,” Girardi said.
The Red Sox (11-8) just finished a 3-3 trip by salvaging the series finale in Baltimore, a three-game set that saw second baseman Dustin Pedroia spiked by Manny Machado and Matt Barnes ejected for throwing behind Machado Sunday.
Barnes was handed a four-game suspension and fined an undisclosed sum by Major League Baseball on Monday. Barnes, who was ejected after the pitch in the eighth inning on Saturday, has decided to appeal the suspension. Therefore, the discipline issued to the 26-year-old Barnes will be held in abeyance until the process in complete.
The teams meet again next week as the Red Sox wrap up a 10-game homestand that also includes a weekend visit by the Chicago Cubs.
Both teams have dealt with manpower difficulties, the Yankees surviving from the start without Didi Gregorius and quickly losing catcher Gary Sanchez.
Both are on their way back, Gregorius (shoulder) already in rehab games and Sanchez (biceps) starting to throw.
The Red Sox got past the flu that swept through their clubhouse and pitching injuries, and now have Pedroia missing two games after the spiking.
Pedroia was slated for an MRI exam on his left knee and ankle Monday and was listed officially as day to day, as was third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who sustained a right knee injury Sunday.
Sandoval also scheduled for an MRI exam on Monday and will be further evaluated Tuesday.
“We know they’re extremely talented,” Girardi said of the Red Sox. “They’ve been through all kinds of things in the first month of the season, whether it’s been injuries or the flu bug or whatever.
“They’ve been through a lot. Our club went through a cold, a lot of guys had colds, but our guys weren’t getting dehydrated. But they’re very talented, we understand that.”
Porcello is 7-5 with a 3.28 ERA lifetime against the Yankees, while Severino is 0-3 with a 4.71 ERA in four outings, three starts, against Boston. He does have 20 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings against the Red Sox.
The struggling Brett Gardner is hitting .417 lifetime against Porcello, while Pedroia is 3-for-7 with a home run against Severino.
Weather might be a factor for at least the opener, with rain coming into the area Tuesday at or near gametime and continuing into Wednesday.