After extending their season-high winning streak to six games Wednesday night via a 9-5 win in 11 innings, the Red Sox have the opportunity to complete a sweep at Yankee Stadium for the first time since June 2011 and again keep New York from clinching a postseason berth.
The finale will be a battle of 35-year-old veterans, as the Sox will send the resurgent Rich Hill to the mound to counter CC Sabathia.
Hill (2-0, 1.17 ERA) has proven to be a remarkable comeback story since being recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket on Sept. 8. The left-hander, who had not started a major league game since 2009, has yet to lose in his three outings, holding batters to a .127 average.
Hill is the first pitcher since 1900 to make a debut in September or later and have 10 or more strikeouts in each of his first three starts that season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Milton native most recently saw the Orioles last Friday, throwing a complete-game shutout. He allowed just two hits and one walk during Boston’s 7-0 win.
“For a guy that has resurrected his career in the way that he has, it’s very, very impressive,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said following the game. “You’re starting to get the feel that this is a little bit of a habit.”
Hill has yet to see the Yankees this season, but has faced them nine times (one start) over the course of his career, going 0-1 with a 8.31 ERA over 8 2/3 innings.
Sabathia (5-10, 4.82) owns the worst win-loss percentage of his 15-year career at .333. He’s 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA over four starts in the month of September.
He’s coming off a loss against the White Sox last Friday, going 6 2/3 innings while allowing six hits and four runs with three strikeouts and a pair of walks.
“[I was] OK, but OK wasn’t good enough to win,” Sabathia said after the game. “I have to be better, especially late in the game. I have to hold the score and keep us right there, give us a chance to win.”
Sabathia is dealing with bone-on-bone arthritis in his right knee but is capable of pitching due to a brace that enables him to avoid feeling pain as he lands on his front foot while pitching.
The 6-foot-7 left-hander is no stranger to the Red Sox, facing them 31 times over the course of career and posting an 11-12 record with a 4.54 ERA. In two starts against Boston in 2015, Sabathia is 0-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
Sabathia is 2-4 with a 5.72 ERA over 13 starts at Yankee Stadium this year.
Red Sox vs. Sabathia (RHP)
David Ortiz (78 plate appearances): .229 AVG/.295 OBP/.357 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 HR, 7 RBIs, 5 walks, 17 strikeouts
Dustin Pedroia (68): .279/.353/.328, 3 doubles, 3 RBIs, 6 walks, 15 strikeouts
Ryan Hanigan (16): .375/.375/.625, 1 double, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 strikeouts
Xander Bogaerts (15): .182/.400/.273, 1 double, 4 walks, 3 strikeouts
Jackie Bradley Jr. (13): .000/.308/.000, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts
Pablo Sandoval (9): .143/.333/.143, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts
Rusty Castillo is 1-for-3 with an RBI and a strikeout.
Allen Craig is 1-for-3 with a solo home run and two strikeouts.
Josh Rutledge is 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.
Mookie Betts is 0-for-2 with an RBI.
Brock Holt is 0-for-2 with a walk and a strikeout.
Yankees vs. Hill (LHP)
Brian McCann (10 plate appearances): .111 AVG/.200 OBP/.111 SLG, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts
Dustin Ackley (5): .250/.400/.250, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Carlos Beltran (5): .400/.400/.400, 1 RBI
Stephen Drew (5): .250/.400/.250, 1 walk, 1 strikeout
Jacoby Ellsbury (5): .600/.600/1.200, 1 HR, 3 RBIs, 1 strikeout
Chris Young (5): .000/.200/.000, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts
Brendan Ryan is 2-for-3 with a double.
Brett Gardner is 1-for-2 with a strikeout.
Alex Rodriguez is 1-for-1 with 2 RBIs and a walk.
Chase Headley is 1-for-1.