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Yankees visit Red Sox

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N.Y. Yankees (56-53) at Boston (49-61)

First pitch: Sunday, 8:00 p.m. ET

Sportsbook.ag Line: Red Sox -110, Yankees +100, Total 8.5

Two storied rivals meet Sunday night when the Red Sox host the Yankees, and each team will have a fresh look for the rest of the season after shaking things up at Thursday’s trade deadline.

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Both New York and Boston were extremely active on the phones Thursday, as both teams looked to make changes after disappointing throughout the season. The Yankees were able to acquire 3B Martin Prado (.270 BA, 5 HR, 42 RBI) and 2B Stephen Drew (.176 BA, 4 HR, 11 RBI), while giving up practically nothing. The Stephen Drew move was one of very few trades between these long-time rivals. Boston traded SP Jon Lester, OF Jonny Gomes and cash to the Oakland A’s for OF Yoenis Cespedes (.256 BA, 17 HR, 67 RBI). Boston also shipped SP John Lackey to St. Louis for 1B/OF Allen Craig (.237 BA, 7 HR, 44 RBI) and traded lefty reliever Andrew Miller to Baltimore.

These two teams split the first two games of this series, as the Yankees rallied from a 3-0 deficit to shock the Sox on Saturday, 6-4. Boston grabbed the series opener on Friday night, 4-3, which ended a three-game skid for the Sox.

Both teams are now significantly different, but New York had won the only series these teams played in Boston this season. They won two out of three games in that series and had won six out of 10 meetings this year before Friday. SP David Phelps (1.34 WHIP) will take the mound for New York and he will be up against SP Clay Buchholz (5.87 ERA and 1.56 WHIP). The Yankees are still very much alive in the hunt for a Wild Card spot in the American League.

Heading into the series against Boston, the Yankees were just 3.5 games out of a spot in the American League playoffs. New York made a drastic change to its lineup with the acquisitions of Martin Prado and Stephen Drew. Both players should immediately start for the team in the infield. David Phelps gets the ball for the Yankees on Sunday night after allowing four earned runs on eight hits in 6 IP against the Rangers. Heading into that start, Phelps had pitched five straight games where he allowed two runs or less. He has given the Yankees some much-needed stability at the back-end of their rotation. For Phelps, it is absolutely crucial that he can pitch a solid six or seven innings because the Yankees bullpen has been strong this year.

Closer David Robertson (1.08 WHIP) has saved 27-of-29 opportunities this season, and if the Yankees can make it to him, they should have the final game of this series won. 3B Chase Headley (10-for-33, 8 K’s) has been excellent since joining the Yankees. He has come through with some timely hits and has looked more like the successful player he was in 2012, when he batted .286 and finished the season with 31 HR and 115 RBI.

The Red Sox were said to be sellers at the trade deadline, but they actually were able to get themselves a very well-established outfield. Bringing in Allen Craig and Yoenis Cespedes gives them a potent hitting outfield that will allow them to turn their focus to their pitching staff in the offseason. Craig is having a down year for the Cardinals, but he did bat .315 with 13 HR and 97 RBI in 2013. In his four years prior to this season, he was a very consistent hitter. Even with this subpar season, he is still batting .291 over the course of his career. Cespedes, on the other hand, gives the Red Sox some much needed power outside of 1B/DH David Ortiz. Heading into the series, Ortiz had homered five times in the previous nine games.

Playing in Fenway Park, the righty should enjoy a lot more success than he did in the gigantic, pitcher-friendly O.co Coliseum. Cespedes hit 26 HR and drove in 80 RBI in 2013, and the Red Sox were wise to pick up a player like him. The Red Sox did, however, abandon nearly all of their pitching staff and Clay Buchholz, the lone member of their rotation who was with them when they won their last World Series, has struggled mightily in 2014. He will need to turn things around the rest of the way, in order to prove that he is a part of the future with this team.

  
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