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‘The Rivalry’ gets one last go-round

Yet again, pitching changes were abound in the series covered in last week’s Total Bases, but at least for the one matchup that stayed true, we were able to get a W.

Another eventful weekend of baseball will proceed nonetheless, with no series more impactful than the upcoming encounter at Fenway Park between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. This will be the final time these two eternal rivals meet in 2020.

This is assured by the fact that the Sox will not be one of the eight teams in this year’s once-in-a-lifetime postseason to represent the American League. At one point, it looked like the Yanks could be joining them on the sidelines before a recent five-game win streak vaulted them back into prime position for a playoff spot.

The Bronx Bombers are looking for better seeding and to perhaps enter as the No. 2 team in the AL East. Boston, meanwhile, has to settle for the undesirable role of playoff spoiler. Let’s take a look at how the slated pitching probables shake out.

Friday

Jordan Montgomery vs. Martin Perez: Only the Detroit Tigers sport a starting pitching staff that has a worse team ERA than Boston’s ugly 6.18 ERA from its starters. Perez, however, has been one of the rare exceptions, crafting a fine first season with the Red Sox. He’ll have his work cut out for him here, though, carrying a dreadful 9.85 ERA and 2.07 WHIP (!) for his career opposite the Yanks.

Montgomery has been having a bit more of an up-and-down campaign than his counterpart but fortunately for New York, the left-hander’s results have been very encouraging lately. His last time out was the first start this year he didn’t allow any earned runs and he also struck out a season-best nine. Plus, he has fared well against the Red Sox this year, too. UNDER

Saturday

JA Happ vs. Andrew Triggs: As noted previously in this very column, Happ has been pretty remarkable in his assignments involving Boston on the other side. In fact, he’s now 12-5 with a 2.95 ERA in 26 career appearances (25 starts) when taking on the Red Sox, including a five-plus-inning, one-run gem earlier this season. Happ’s really trending up as well.

As good as the veteran southpaw is when tangling with the Sox, it may not be enough to keep this one under the total. That’s no disrespect to Andrew Triggs, who is merely an opener and did hang up a scoreless first frame in his Boston debut last week. But the bullpen is such a mess that a higher score always seems in play. OVER

Sunday

Deivi Garcia vs. Ryan Weber: If you are somehow not impressed with the rookie Garcia so far, you simply need to reconsider how you evaluate pitchers. The 21-year-old sensation strung together a 3.06 ERA and 0.91 WHIP through his first three starts while also compiling a superb 18-2 K/BB ratio across 17.2 innings. He may be extra amped putting his touches on The Rivalry for the first time.

On the other end of the spectrum, it’s one of the reasons why Boston’s pitching staff is ranked so low. That would be Weber, though to his credit, the six-year veteran has been better lately, yielding five runs in 12 total September innings. Continued improvement combined with Garcia’s terrific work could keep this one on the low side. UNDER

Last week: 1-0

Season: 4-2