Brayan Bello will get his first taste of one of the greatest rivalries in sports when he takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees on Wednesday night.
He also figures to get his first look at major league home run leader Aaron Judge.
Bello (1-5, 5.79 ERA), who has worked into the sixth inning in his past two starts, will look to help the Red Sox bounce back from a 7-6, 10-inning loss on Tuesday in the opener of the two-game series.
The rookie right-hander has a 3.55 ERA over his past six outings (four starts), covering 25 1/3 frames.
“He’s really good at getting information and then executing on the mound,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said. “There are a lot of guys helping him out. … Little by little, he’s learning how to use his stuff.”
Bello, 23, is looking forward to his eighth career start being against the Yankees (86-56), as well as having the opportunity for more action against other American League East foes down the stretch.
“We’re going to face really good teams, and I have to pitch my best and be 100 percent to beat those teams,” he said. “I can keep getting experience that I can transfer to next year.”
Despite matching his career-high seven strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings on Friday in Baltimore, Bello was saddled with a loss after a three-run sixth inning. He allowed a single and two walks before exiting with the bases loaded. Kaleb Ort took over and allowed all three inherited runners to score.
Bello might be in for a tight contest, as eight of the 14 Red Sox-Yankees games this season have been decided by one run.
Home runs by Triston Casas, Reese McGuire and Xander Bogaerts weren’t enough for the Red Sox in the series opener.
A bases-clearing, two-out double by Gleyber Torres in the 10th inning was Boston’s downfall after Judge hit game-tying home runs in both the sixth and eighth innings.
“We had good efforts, good at-bats, but we weren’t able to put them away,” Cora said.
Judge has 57 homers this season, four shy of tying the American League record set by the Yankees’ Roger Maris in 1961.
Judge has 10 multi-homer games on the season, one shy of the major league single-season record shared by Hank Greenberg (1938 Detroit Tigers) and Sammy Sosa (1998 Chicago Cubs).
“It’s amazing what he’s doing,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “I think it’s huge (for the rest of the team) because it was a back-and-forth game and (his homers) put us right back in the game.”
Torres has eight RBIs over his past three games. Tuesday marked his second straight game driving in at least three.
“I just tried to hit the ball the other way,” Torres told YES Network in a postgame interview. “Marwin (Gonzalez) and Judge (hitting home runs) helped me with more motivation, so when I got the opportunity, I just tried to do the same thing.”
The Yankees are expected to start Nestor Cortes (9-4, 2.73 ERA) in the series finale. The left-hander has gone without a win over his past five starts.
Cortes worked four-plus innings of two-run ball on Thursday against the Minnesota Twins, his first outing following a stint on the 15-day injured list caused by a strained groin.
Cortes faced the Red Sox (69-73) on July 8, and he allowed eight hits and four runs over 3 2/3 innings. It was the shortest of his 24 outings this season.
Tuesday marked New York’s seventh win in nine games and its eighth when trailing after seven innings this year.
–Field Level Media