The Red Sox won’t mind tipping their caps to Yankees closer Mariano Rivera this weekend, as the lock first-ballot Hall of Famer and final player to wear Jackie Robinson‘s No. 42 is retiring after this season. This will be his final trip to Fenway Park barring an unlikely Yankees-Red Sox playoff matchup. The Red Sox will be around -165 series favorites by Bovada oddsmakers.
Rivera is 13-7 with a 2.86 ERA and 58 saves in 126 career innings against the Red Sox. Those 13 wins are easily his most against any team. The only club he has pitched more innings and has more saves against is Baltimore. Rivera is 2-4 with a 2.54 ERA and 36 saves in 60 1/3 career regular-season innings at Fenway Park.
Manager Joe Girardi has said he wants Rivera back, but the 43-year-old has been committed to his retirement. He likely would have walked away after last season if not for an early-season injury that ended his year. Rivera hasn’t been great against Boston this year. He’s 1-0 with four saves but the Red Sox are hitting .300 off him. He blew back-to-back saves against the Red Sox last weekend at Yankee Stadium, although New York rallied in the series finale to salvage one game of the four-game set.
The Yankees could look very different when they visit Boston for the first time next season (April 22-24). In addition to Rivera, Andy Pettitte also seems likely to retire. Alex Rodriguez is likely to be suspended for some if not all of 2014. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano will be free agents.
But this is another crucial series for the Yankees, who are very much alive in the wild card race. New York is scheduled to start Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99) in the opener, which will feature Live Betting. He pitched Sunday against the Sox and allowed two runs in six innings. He’s 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in five 2013 starts against Boston. David Ortiz has hit Kuroda hard this year, going 7-for-12 with a homer and three doubles. Big Papi is one of the few current Red Sox players with success off Rivera, as well, with Ortiz hitting .344 with a homer and four RBIs in 32 regular-season at-bats.
Saturday’s matinee also will feature Live Betting, with the Yankees set to play behind CC Sabathia (13-12, 4.82). The lefty is 2-1 against Boston this year in four starts despite a 7.15 ERA. Sabathia has given up 13 runs over 10 1/3 innings in his past two starts against the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia is 6-for-12 off Sabathia this year. Pedroia has had no success against Rivera, with one hit and five strikeouts in 12 career at-bats.
Sunday night’s game also has Live Betting. Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.17) is scheduled, but it’s not a lock he will go due to triceps tightness. He allowed three runs on five hits in four innings on Sept. 5 against Boston in his only start against the Sox. Boston counters with Clay Buchholz (10-0, 1.61). He had a triumphant return against the Rays and is the first MLB starter since 1978 to begin a season 10-0 with an ERA that low. Buchholz is 2-0 with a 0.75 ERA against New York.