The Yankees and Red Sox sit first and second in the AL East, adding fuel to what is already one of the hottest rivalries in all professional sports.
Thursday’s game will be even more intense if the Yankees face left-hander David Price (1-0) for the Red Sox, who has been edged in his first two starts since returning from the disabled list at the end of May. Michael Pineda (6-3) will start with the Yankees.
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“The addition of David Price is going to be a bonus for any rotation. We know that,” manager John Farrell said. “But the fact that he was able to get into the eighth inning on his second outing was very encouraging.”
Price dominated his most recent start on the road to the Orioles, which came on Saturday when he pitched seven career innings and three hits with seven strikeouts. The solitary defect came in the seventh when Manny Machado took him deep for a home run.
Despite his lifelong Bronx record, Price was 0-3 with a 8-10 ERA in three starts at Yankee Stadium last season. Overall against the Yankees in 2016, it was 1-3 with a 7.89 ERA in five starts.
Pineda comes from his worst start since his first start of the season. Against the Blue Jays on Friday, the 28-year-old pitcher allowed five runs and 10 hits, both of which have been his season highs.
Things you should know about this game
• Pineda has launched a third of his pitches while he is ahead in the count, the fifth highest rate for anyone with at least 1,000 submissions this season. When it has advanced, opponents have posted an average exit speed of 84.6 mph and an expected batting average of .166 (based on Statcast’s odds of success).
• Ambidexter hitter Chase Headley, who has struggled this season on the right side, has a 33-11 (.333) lifetime record against Price with three extra-base hits.
• Right fielder Mookie Betts has a 20-6 (.300) shot against Pineda with two doubles and two homers.
• Price has a career record of 8-5 at Yankee Stadium, although his 3.98 ERA is his third-worst record at any American League stadium.