The Red Sox will send young lefty Henry Owens to the hill on Friday as they open a three-game series against the Yankees. He will be opposed by Masahiro Tanaka.
Owens will look to rebound after struggling through his first start of the season with the Red Sox on Sunday against the Astros. After his call-up from the minors, he lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits. The biggest issue he ran into was issuing free passes, something that plagued him in his previous big league stint last year as well. He had four walks to go with four strikeouts and did not factor into the decision. The Red Sox would go onto win 7-5 in 12 innings.
In two career starts against the Yankees, Owens is 0-2 with a 13.50 ERA and 2.100 WHIP. He has struck out seven and walked three in 6 2/3 innings pitched. Coincidentally, both times Owens faced the Yankees, Tanaka was the opposing pitcher. Owens is looking forward to the third matchup.
“It should be fun,” he said. “It’s a rematch. It’s Tanaka again, so that should be good. Hopefully, I get a little redemption.”
Tanaka is off to a solid start in 2016, as he is 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through four starts. In his last outing Sunday against the Rays, he went seven strong innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits and one walk with strikeouts. He did not factor into the decision, but the Yankees wound up victorious, 3-2.
One interesting note on the 27-year-old Tanaka is that after surgery to remove a bone spur from his elbow last season, he has not thrown his four-seam fastball nearly as often. He feels it is still a part of his pitching arsenal moving forward, however.
“Obviously, my four-seam fastball will be used,” Tanaka said recently. “For me, I don’t look at it so differently. There’s not that much velocity difference from the four-seam and the two-seam. But I’m moving the ball with the two-seamer and getting better results, so that’s why I’m leaning toward that way.”
In seven starts against the Red Sox, Tanaka is 4-2 with a 5.13 ERA and 1.240 WHIP. He has walked nine and struck out 32 in 40 1/3 innings of work.
Yankees vs. Owens (LHP)
Alex Rodriguez (5 plate appearances): 2-for-4 with 1 double, 2 RBIs, 1 walk
Carlos Beltran is 0-for-3 with one strikeout.
Jacoby Ellsbury is 0-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Didi Gregorious is 1-for-3 with two strikeouts.
Chase Headley is 1-for-2 with a walk.
Mark Texeira is 1-for-2 with one RBI.
Brett Gardner is 0-for-1 with a walk and a strikeout.
Brian McCann is 0-for-2.
Red Sox vs Tanaka (RHP)
Xander Bogaerts (19 plate appearances): .263 AVG/.263 OBP/.474 SLG, 1 double, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 5 strikeouts
David Ortiz (18): .267/.389/.600, 2 doubles, 1 home run, 3 RBIs, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts
Brock Holt (15): .200/.200/.333, 2 doubles, 1 strikeout
Dustin Pedroia (13): .385/.385/.538, 2 doubles
Jackie Bradley (12): .091/.083/.091, 1 RBI
Mookie Betts (11): .333/.364/.556, 2 doubles, 1 RBI, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Hanley Ramirez is 1-for-5 with 3 RBIs and one strikeout.
Ryan Hanigan is 1-for-5 with one RBI and two strikeouts.
Travis Shaw is 1-for-5 with two RBIs and two strikeouts.
Chris Young is 1-for-3 with a strikeout.
Christian Vazquez is 1-for-1 with an RBI.