#1 Ajayi finished with von hong wei 08.11.2018 09:28

NEW YORK — For virtually every day in the last month Ryan Nugent-Hopkins Jersey , either the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees woke up in first place in the AL East standings.

Since the wild-card play-in game was added in 2012, the premium is placed on being a division winner and whichever team finishes second in the AL East appears likely to host the wild-card game.

Neither team is ready to focus on playoff scenarios, but the Red Sox and Yankees are anticipating a vibrant atmosphere Friday night for the opener of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

“We know where we’re at,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “They’re not getting away. We’re not getting away. It’s half the season. This is a three-game series. We go out there with the same mindset. Win the series.”

The season series is tied at three games apiece.

Boston took two of three April 10-12 when the Yankees began 9-9 and fell 7 1/2 games out. The Yankees took two of three a month later, missing the sweep when J.D. Martinez homered off Dellin Betances in the series finale.

Since the last meeting, the Red Sox (55-27) are 29-16 while the Yankees (52-26) are 26-15. The teams were tied atop the division following the last meeting and the margin has not been more than 2 1/2 games since the last series.

“They’re a great team,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “We’ve played some really competitive games with them already. If we’re going to win the division, that’s the team we’re going to have to beat out. They’re a really good opponent chasing after the same thing we’re after and we embrace the competition.”

The Red Sox enter the series on a four-game winning streak and with six wins in their last seven games, a stretch that has seen them get 52 runs while hitting .331 (83-for-251). They scored 22 runs and hit nine homers in a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels.

Martinez was quiet in Thursday’s 4-2 win but leads the majors with 25 homers and is hitting .448 (13-for-29) in his last seven games.

Rafael Devers and Jackie Bradley Jr. homered Thursday and both enjoyed improved results on the homestand. Devers was 8-for-22 while Bradley was 8-for-17.

“We’re playing well. We’re pitching well. We’re swinging the bats a lot better than 10 days ago,” Cora said “So as always, it should be fun. I’ve been saying it all along since last year: The stadium is alive. The (Yankees) fans are buying into the concept. They love that team.”

The Yankees are returning from a 2-4 road trip through Tampa Bay and Philadelphia. During the trip, the Yankees were blanked twice and scored 17 runs while batting .175 (40-for-229) and going 10-for-57 (.175) with runners in scoring position.

“We feel like we’ve got a really good team Aaron Ekblad Jersey , they’ve got a really good team,” Yankees left fielder Brett Gardner said. “We’ve been right there with them, within a game or two, it seems like all year and it will probably be like that for the next few months, too.”

The Yankees own the majors’ best home record at 29-11 and enter the series with 13 wins in their last 18 home games since the last meeting with the Red Sox.

One player who enjoyed a good trip was Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton is hitting .306 this month and batted .417 (10-for-24) on the trip.

Stanton and the rest of the Yankees will contend with three left-handed starters as the Red Sox are slated to start Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale and David Price. The Yankees are 18-5 in games started by lefties and are hitting .262 off southpaw starters.

Rodriguez, who will start Friday, is 9-2 with a 3.86 ERA and is coming off a rare loss. He allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits in four innings of Saturday’s 7-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners.

Despite matching his second-shortest outing of the season, Rodriguez is 6-1 in his last seven starts.

Rodriguez is 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 10 career starts against the Yankees. He started the last meeting on May 10 and held the Yankees to one hit and no runs in five innings while getting eight strikeouts in a 93-pitch outing.

The Yankees will counter with CC Sabathia, whose charitable foundation raised $1 million in a softball game Thursday at Yankee Stadium.

Sabathia is seeking his 242nd career win, which would break a tie with Herb Pennock for 56th place on the all-time list. He also is making his 524th career start.

Sabathia is coming off two tough-luck losses to the Tampa Bay Rays. After allowing three runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings June 17, Sabathia allowed two runs (one earned) on nine hits in 5 1/3 innings in last Friday’s 2-1 loss.

Sabathia was originally slated to start Wednesday but the Yankees opted to line him up for the Red Sox.

The left-hander is 17-13 with a 4.20 ERA in 40 career starts against Boston and 15-9 with a 4.27 ERA in 33 starts in the rivalry since becoming a Yankee in 2009. He opposed Rodriguez last month and allowed four runs on nine hits in four innings in a game the Red Sox won 5-4.

After this weekend’s series Youth Jamie McGinn Jersey , the teams will next meet Aug 2-5 for a four-game set at Fenway Park.

The Detroit Tigers will look for their third consecutive victory as they open an eight-game road trip Friday night against the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago.

Detroit (33-37) is coming off back-to-back wins against the Minnesota Twins as it remains within striking distance of the Cleveland Indians for first place in the American League Central division. The Tigers have scored four-plus runs in four of their last seven contests.

The team’s success at the plate has come despite the loss of star slugger Miguel Cabrera, who will miss the rest of the season after rupturing his biceps tendon. The 35-year-old performed well against Chicago with a .297 lifetime average to go along with 34 home runs and 108 RBIs in 175 games.

Minus Cabrera, the Tigers are forced to rely upon less proven players such as JaCoby Jones, who belted a two-run home run on Thursday afternoon that helped his team secure a series victory. Jones is hitting only .222 this season with five home runs and 18 RBIs.

“He’s a really good baseball player,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said to the Detroit Free Press. “He brings a lot to the table. Yeah, he could get sent down sometime if he went 0-for-the-next-150, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“I love the kid. … But ultimately, he’s going to have to dig his way out of it, and (Thursday) was a start. He hit a home run, that’s confidence — and now, hopefully, he’ll build from there.”

Chicago (24-43) also has gained confidence recently despite a difficult start to the season. The White Sox have won or split each of their past four series Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey , including a 2-2 series tie against the Indians this week.

The White Sox will turn to right-hander Reynaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.26 ERA), who will make his 14th start of the season. The 24-year-old has posted back-to-back quality starts and earned a victory in his most recent appearance Sunday as he limited the Boston Red Sox to two runs (one earned) in 6 1/3 innings.

In three career starts against the Tigers, Lopez is 1-1 with a 2.57 ERA. He has not allowed a home run in 21 innings, but control has proved to be an issue as he has walked 10 and struck out nine during those three starts.

Lopez is enthused by the recent success of him and his teammates.

“When you as a team can do the little things and can work as a team with all the parts integrated, you will have good results,” Lopez said to the Chicago Tribune. “And that’s what we’ve been doing the last couple of weeks.”

The Tigers are determined to disrupt the recent comfort level of the White Sox.

Detroit right-hander Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.01 ERA) will make his 13th start. He has not lost since May 19 against the Seattle Mariners, and he is coming off an impressive outing in which he limited Cleveland to one run on five hits in seven innings.

Fiers, 32, is 2-0 with a 1.72 ERA in five career starts against the White Sox. He has walked eight and struck out 28 in 31 1/3 innings.

Chicago is 12-21 at home this season. Detroit is 10-20 on the road.

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