Jacoby Ellsbury is back in Boston for the first time since Game 6 of the 2013 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ellsbury signed a seven-year, $152 million contract with the Yankees this past offseason, becoming the latest of many to don both a Yankees and Red Sox uniform.
The Red Sox are having a tough time replacing Ellsbury at the top of their lineup. Ellsbury had a .355 on-base percentage, stole a league-leading 52 bases and scored 92 runs in 134 games last season; through 20 games, Sox leadoff hitters are batting under .200 and have scored 10 runs.
Ellsbury, however, has gotten off to a great start with the Yankees, hitting .338 with eight stolen bases through his first 19 games this season.
It’ll be interesting to hear what kind of reaction he gets when he comes up to the plate for the first time in the game. If the Johnny Damon‘s return was any indication, it should be safe to say that there will be more boos (and possibly fake dollar bills) raining down on the field than there will be people thanking his for his years of service with the team.
Tonight's lineup against Boston:
- Jacoby Ellsbury CF
- Derek Jeter SS
- Carlos Beltran DH
- Alfonso Soriano LF
- Mark Teixeira 1B
- Brian McCann C
- Yangervis Solarte 3B
- Ichiro Suzuki RF
- Brian Roberts
Pitching matchup preview: Masahiro Tanaka vs Jon Lester
The Red Sox will get their first chance to see right-hander Masahiro Tanaka in the first game of this series tonight.
The Yankees’ original plan had Tanaka starting Sunday’s game against the Rays, meaning he would miss facing the Sox altogether this month, but because of the doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday, the Yanks didn’t want Tanaka pitching on short rest, so he’ll face Boston tonight.
As previously stated, Tanaka’s last start was in the first game of Wednesday’s doubleheader against Chicago. He was at his best, twirling eight shutout innings and striking out 10 Cubs hitters in the Yankees’ 3-0 victory.
The Yankees, on the other hand, are getting their second look at left-hander Jon Lester this season. Despite his 2-2 record, Lester has actually pitched pretty well through his first four starts of the season, giving up just seven earned runs in 29 innings so far. Most of his problem has been the lack of run support from Boston's offense.
Lester has given up four earned runs or less in his last 10 starts against the Yankees, in which he is 4-2 with a 3.50 ERA in those games.