The Yankees have raced out to first place in the division standings by winning four of their first five games. Despite having its four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies postponed, New York’s offense hasn’t missed a beat. The Bronx Bombers have launched nine home runs through the first five games, more than making up for their paltry .223 team batting average. Can the Yankees bats stay hot at home against the division-rival Red Sox on Saturday evening?
Godley slides into Red Sox rotation after strong debutBoston leads the MLB in batting average at .276 and sixth in runs scored with 36 through seven games. The Red Sox have three players batting over .400 so far this season. Kevin Pillar leads the team with a .444 batting average while Christian Vasquez (.421) and Jackie Bradley Jr. (.400) have also been red-hot to start the year. Vasquez also leads the team with four home runs, eight RBIs, and a 1.555 OPS.
Most swinging strikes per pitch so far in 2020 (min 50 pitches)?? @godleyzt is 2nd on an impressive list!— Codify, Inc. (@CodifyBaseball) July 28, 2020
28.9% Jalen Beeks
28.3% Zack Godley 🔥
26.4% Luis Castillo
23.6% Jacob deGrom
22.2% Max Scherzer pic.twitter.com/DvVVTBiRUk
The Red Sox are expected to send right-hander Zach Godley to the hill at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Godley, who joined the club in mid-July on a minor league deal, will serve in an opener’s role. He was solid in his Red Sox debut on July 27, striking out seven batters and walking none in four scoreless innings of relief versus the New York Mets. The outing was an encouraging sign for the Red Sox, who picked up the 28-year-old after a disappointing season with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Godley was released after posting the worst year of his MLB career. He finished 2019 with a 3-5 record and a 6.39 ERA in 27 games (nine starts).
Godley’s only career appearance against the Yankees in 2019 came out of the bullpen. He allowed three earned runs on five hits in three innings of work. According to Baseball Savant, current Yankees are batting .200 in 38 plate appearances off of Godley heading into this matchup.
Tanaka to open 2020 season versus BostonNew York will turn to former ace Masahiro Tanaka for his 2020 debut on Saturday night. The 31-year-old will wear a protective cap insert to protect him after being hit by a line drive during a summer camp session on July 4. Tanaka put together a strong season in 2019, going 11-9 with a 4.45 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in 31 starts. The Yankees’ right-hander has reached double-digit victories in all six of his MLB seasons, posting a career 75-43 record and a lifetime 3.75 ERA.
Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head with a line drive from the bat of Giancarlo Stanton during a simulated game.pic.twitter.com/biProHbgeK— Yankees Videos (@snyyankees) July 4, 2020
Tanaka has seen a healthy dose of the Red Sox over the years. The right-hander has made 21 career starts against the Red Sox, going 8-5 with a 5.76 ERA in 115 ⅔ combined innings of work.
He struggled against them in 2019 though, posting a whopping 24.75 ERA over a three-start span. Boston whopped Tanaka for 24 runs in just eight innings of work but he managed to escape with just an 0-1 record. According to Baseball Savant, current Boston batters are hitting .288 in 258 plate appearances versus Tanaka heading into this matchup.