Tonight kicks off the 2021 Major League Baseball playoffs as the New York Yankees head to Boston to take on the Red Sox in the American League Wild Card game. It’s not the Reds, but I figured that many of you will still be watching the playoffs and could enjoy somewhere to share some thoughts, too.
The Pitching Matchup
You probably don’t expect to see many bad pitching matchups in the playoffs, and you certainly won’t see one tonight. Gerrit Cole will take the mound for the Yankees and face off against Nathan Eovaldi of the Red Sox.
Gerrit Cole posted a 3.23 ERA and led the American League in wins with 16. He’s pitched well on the road this season, posting a 3.32 ERA in 16 starts away from Yankee Stadium. He’s performed slightly better against right-handed hitters than left-handed hitters, but neither side has an OBP of .275 and both sides are slugging under .400. Against Boston this year he’s posted a 4.91 ERA in four starts.
Nathan Eovaldi has pitched better in Boston than he has on the road, so the Red Sox may have gotten a bit lucky on this one. At Fenway, Eovaldi has a 3.47 ERA this season (4.21 on the road) and he’s allowed just 6 home runs in 114.0 innings while pitching in Boston in 2021. Right-handed hitters have had more success against him, posting a .729 OPS, while lefites have a .654 OPS against him. In six starts against the Yankees this year he’s posted a 3.71 ERA.
The two teams played 19 times during the regular season. The Red Sox came out ahead, winning 10 and losing 9. That’s about as close as it can be. Of course how two teams performed against each other during the regular season doesn’t correlate to how they’ll do in the postseason when facing each other, either. One of the more famous iterations of this is the 1988 New York Mets, who went 10-1 against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the regular season and outscored them 49-18, but lost a 7-game series to them in the National League Championship Series.
The Yankees won four of the last five games between the two teams that were played in Boston this year, including a 3-game sweep in late September.
Gerrit Cole and Nathan Eovaldi faced off about two weeks ago in Boston and things didn’t go well for Eovaldi as he gave up 7 earned runs in 2.2 innings and didn’t record a strikeout. Every other start in the month of September saw him strike out at least 7 batters.
When and Where
- Game time: 8:08pm ET
- Where: Fenway Park
- Watch: ESPN and ESPN2 (Statcast Broadcast)
- Listen: ESPN Radio
- Forecast: 58°, cloudy, 5% chance of rain