The New York Yankees get the chance to put what could be the final nail in the coffin of their rivals when they face the host Boston Red Sox in the finale of a four-game series Monday.
New York has won two of the first three games in the series to drop Boston's chance to make the playoffs to less than 1 percent, according to FanGraphs. After a 10-5 Yankees win Sunday, the Red Sox parted ways with president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski.
Left-hander James Paxton (12-6, 4.16 ERA) gets the nod for New York in the last game between the two teams this regular season. Boston will counter with southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez (17-5, 3.81).
Boston made the postseason from 2016-18 under Dombrowski's guide, including winning the 2018 World Series. The veteran executive has been a popular target for criticism this year, most notably when the team stood pat at the trade deadline despite being on the outside of the playoff picture.
Dombrowski's firing might signal the Red Sox are set to wave the white flag, now down eight games in the AL wild-card chase with three weeks to go.
A big part of Boston's problems this season has been New York, which has won 13 of their 18 meetings thus far. In Sunday's contest, Gleyber Torres, Mike Tauchman and Aaron Judge all went deep for the Yankees to set a club record for homers as a team at 268, surpassing the 267 they hit last year.
Left fielder Tauchman would leave the game in the fourth inning with tightness in his left calf, and he returned to New York for further tests Monday.
"It's certainly a concern," said Yankees manager Aaron Boone. "The calf was bothering him, so we'll see what we have hopefully by tomorrow."
The injury marred the good vibes from infielder Gio Urshela's return from the injured list earlier in the day. Urshela, who was sidelined the 10-day minimum with a groin ailment, came on as a defensive substitution Sunday and is expected to start Monday.
For the Red Sox, left-hander David Price (wrist) and rookie infielder Michael Chavis (shoulder, oblique) are both question marks to return this year. Manager Alex Cora said Sunday the team will remain cautious with Price, while Chavis is raring to return before the end of the month.
"One of my goals is just to not finish the season on the IL," Chavis said. "I really just want to play before the season is over."
Rodriguez is the man Boston wants on the mound, having won each of his last four starts, including seven shutout innings against the Minnesota Twins last time out. His only loss since June 9 came against New York on Aug. 2, and he's 1-1 with a 4.58 ERA in three starts against the club this season.
For his career, Rodriguez is 6-5 with a 4.03 ERA in 17 games (15 starts).
Paxton is coming off one of his strongest outings of the year, striking out 12 and giving up just one hit over seven innings to the Texas Rangers. He beat Boston by giving up just two runs over six innings in that Aug. 2 game and is 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA in his three starts against the Red Sox this season.
Paxton is 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts lifetime versus Boston.
--Field Level Media
Yankees look to beat rival Red Sox once again
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