New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres
New York Yankees' Gleyber Torres, right, grounds into a double play in front of Boston Red Sox's Kevin Plawecki during the seventh inning of a baseball game, Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

AL Wild Card Game: Yankees vs. Red Sox

Kyle Barrette

This one-game do-or-die playoff is one of the best things that MLB has done recently. It brings an unmatched level of excitement to start the postseason. This round is simple: win, you move on, lose, you go home. One game, one shot. What makes it even better is that it is the Red Sox and Yankees. This was a back-and-forth series all season that ended up with the Sox taking the season series 10-9, but the Yankees have won six of the last seven, including that three-game sweep at the end of the season, allowing New York to catapult themselves into the wild card picture. It’s all on the line and it’s going to be another great addition to this storied rivalry.

Red Sox
Yes, the Red Sox made it into the wild card, but man was it close. It was the Sox almost shooting themselves in the foot that caused them to almost miss the postseason. Boston lost two of three crucial games against the last-place Orioles, putting them one loss away from their season’s end. The Sox got a few lucky losses by the Mariners and Blue Jays, but there is some concern heading into this game as they had to comeback late against another bad team in the Nationals just to avoid a tiebreaker. The Sox also had to start Chris Sale, who they would love to have started in this game against Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, and there is a chance he will still toss one or two innings, if need be, as it is all hands on deck to get through this game. The Sox will turn to Nathan Eovaldi to start this one. Eovaldi is the next best guy behind Sale in this rotation and has been dominant as of late, going 6-1 over his last seven starts. Some of that was against mediocre competition, but some was against playoff caliber teams. The concerning part of all this is that the one in 6-1 was a meltdown against, you guessed it, the Yankees. In fact, it has been very ugly for Eovaldi against the Yankees. He has lost his last four starts against them and has gone 1-4 on the season. Most of the games have been close, but Yankee pitching has been able to silence the Red Sox bats for most of the second half of the season. Eovaldi is going to need a breakout performance to keep the Sox season alive.

Let’s face it. We all had our doubts going into the All-Star break that the Yankees would even make the playoffs, and many thought there would be a lot of shaking up on this team, but a few trades for some big time bats pulled New York through, and they have indeed put themselves in the AL Wild Card Game. They have positioned themselves to have their guy ready to go in the most important game of the season as the stakes keep getting higher for Cole. His last three starts can’t have you feeling too great heading into a win or go home matchup. 15 runs, five home runs, and a two-and-one Yankee record is cause for concern from someone you’re looking to carry you through. The shining light in all that is that his best game of those three was that one win, and it was against the Red Sox. Cole split his season starts against the Sox 2-2 but has pitched well against them as of late. We’ll see if the Sox can change the recent success that the Yankees Ace has had against them.

Red Sox vs Yankees: The Pick
I am riding with the Yankees here. Eovaldi has not had an answer for the Yankees most of this season, and I don’t see that changing with the stakes as high as they are here. The state of this Red Sox team can be described as “lucky.” They almost blew their shot at the postseason entirely due to poor play when it mattered the most, only to scramble back and beat a bad team. That will not be the case here. They will not have those opportunities. Take the Yankees to advance.

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