Four things to watch as Red Sox begin third series with Yankees

Red Sox

Boston is 5-1 against the Yankees in 2023.

Brayan Bello will start Friday against the Yankees. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
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In what’s been a shaky season for the Red Sox in 2023, matchups against the rival New York Yankees have been rock solid. Boston is 5-1 against the Yankees heading into its series in New York Friday through Sunday.

Through those previous six games, seemingly everything has gone Boston’s way. The Red Sox have outscored the Yankees 32-15 this season. On June 16, Boston scored its most runs in a game (15) all season and registered its most extra-base hits in a game (six), both against the Yankees.

Ahead of Friday’s series opener at 7:05 p.m., here are four things to note:

Brayan Bello’s big night

Brayan Bello got the nod on the bump for game one in New York. If he is anywhere near as effective Friday as he was in his last start against the Yankees, it’ll be a major positive for the Red Sox.

In Boston’s 4-1 win at Fenway Park on June 18, Bello pitched for seven innings and only gave up four hits and one run. He found his spots well, striking out eight batters during his outing.

Bello also pitched seven innings in his first start against the Yankees on June 11, allowing three hits and two runs while tossing three strikeouts. He is 8-7 overall this season with an ERA of 3.81.

Justin Turner going deep

The Yankees were on the wrong side of one of Justin Turner’s best games of the season in a 15-5 win for Boston on June 16. The designated hitter fired off two home runs, a grand slam, and a two-run shot, finishing with three hits and six RBI.

On the season as a whole, Turner has 19 home runs, but three of those came in games against the Yankees. Now Turner is dealing with a foot injury, so time will tell if his offensive firepower against Boston’s rival will continue.

Bullpen prowess

Pitching hasn’t been a strong suit for the Red Sox all season. Through six matchups against New York, though, success out of the bullpen hasn’t been as hard to come by.

In four out of six games, Boston’s bullpen came in and shut out the Yankees for the innings they pitched. In one such game, a 3-2 win, Nick Pivetta, Kenley Jansen, and Chris Martin shut down New York and didn’t allow a single hit through their three combined innings. That set up Boston for a win in extra innings.

The lone blemish on that success came in the 15-5 Red Sox win, where the bullpen allowed six hits and four runs. Boston had already established a 13-1 lead by the time Alex Cora went to the bullpen, though, so the inefficiency didn’t matter.

Constant contact for Verdugo

Alex Verdugo is having consistent success at the plate against New York this season. He’s recorded at least one hit in each of his six games against the Yankees and has multiple hits in four of those matchups.

Verdugo is batting .271 on the season, hurt by a tough stretch of games in July. He found his stride offensively again in August. Verdugo is ranked in the top 10 in the American League in doubles, and has posted three so far against the Yankees.