The greatest rivalry in baseball takes the stage at Fenway Park on Thursday for a four-game series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
After falling to the Tampa Bay Rays in two of their last three games, the Red Sox will be seeking momentum against division opponents starting with facing their archrival.
Against American League East teams this season, the Red Sox are 9-18 while allowing 124 runs to their 96 runs scored. Considering nearly half of Boston’s remaining regular-season games are against division opponents, an all-around spark is essential.
As far as Red Sox manager Alex Cora’s lineup changes for Thursday night, Kevin Plawecki takes duties behind the dish. That said, the most notable switch is the reinstatement of Rafael Devers, who will start at third after missing back-to-back games against the Rays due to lower back and hamstring soreness.
Having Devers back in the lineup is a plus that needs no explanation, especially when going up against Yankees starter Gerrit Cole.
Last season in 12 plate appearances against Cole, Devers went 4-for-11 with three home runs and eight RBIs. The career numbers for Cole at Fenway also aren’t in his favor. In six career games pitched at Fenway, the right-hander’s record sits 1-3 with a 5.06 ERA in 32 innings pitched with 37 hits allowed.
Back in October, Cole took the hill for the American League Wild Card game at Fenway. He proceeded to record just six outs on 50 pitches thrown en route to the Yankee’s elimination.
Boston sits 1-2 so far in games played this season against the Yankees, who won’t have sluggers Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo in the starting lineup for the series opener.
Pregame coverage on NESN begins at 6 p.m. ET with “Red Sox First Pitch” followed by “Red Sox Gameday Live.” First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m.
Here are the full lineups for Thursday night’s Red Sox vs. Yankees series opener:
BOSTON RED SOX (45-37)
Jarren Duran, CF
Rafael Devers, 3B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Alex Verdugo, LF
Trevor Story, 2B
Franchy Cordero, 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr., RF
Kevin Plawecki, C
Josh Winckowski, RHP (3-2, 3.12 ERA)
NEW YORK YANKEES (59-23)
DJ LeMahieu, 1B
Gleyber Torres, 2B
Matt Carpenter, DH
Giancarlo Stanton, LF
Josh Donaldson, 3B
Aaron Hicks, CF
Jose Trevino, C
Isiah Kiner-Falefa, SS
Joey Gallo, RF
Gerrit Cole, RHP (7-2, 2.99 ERA)