Red Sox ace Chris Sale vows his playoff performance will improve

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"He made one bad pitch to one of the better hitters in baseball". Kelly's saving graces are his 100-mph fastball and his low home-run rate - 0.5 allowed per nine innings - against a NY team that set a major-league record with 267 this season.

The Boston Red Sox didn't make it easy, but they took an early lead in their American League Division Series tilt with the New York Yankees. The Yankees just always had home field, a stacked team, and a great manager in Joe Torre.

The Yankees loaded the bases in the sixth and seventh, cutting the deficit to 5-3. The Red Sox went on to win their first World Series since 1918, but Boone's drive off Tim Wakefield has not been forgotten or forgiven.

Judge gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead 10 pitches into the game when he drove Price's 2-1 cutter into the Green Monster seats above left field. He struck out both McCutchen and Judge on nasty sliders to open the game, and though he labored through a 24-pitch first, he struck out the side when he got Giancarlo Stanton swinging on a changeup.

These teams also have a history of hitting each other. Price threw just 42 pitches in what was by far the shortest of his 10 postseason starts to date - indeed, four of Price's last five playoff relief appearances have been longer. A bench-clearing brawl led to suspensions and fines, but Auston won't be around for a rematch - he was dealt to Minnesota in July.

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The New York Yankees are drawing boos in some corners of Boston, but not for their bitter rivalry to the Red Sox. Rick Porcello will follow, with former Yankees righty Nathan Eovaldi now scheduled as Boston's Game 4 starter.

Although it's hard to believe, it's been 14 years since the last time the Yankees and Red Sox met in the postseason.

"Just another game", Price said of facing the New York Yankees.

In 1973, Thurman Munson crashed into catcher Carlton Fisk at Fenway after Gene Michael missed a bunt, and the All-Stars fought.

He went 1-1 with a 1.99 ERA in four starts against the Red Sox this season.

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Chris Sale has the second-best odds to win the AL Cy Young award, and he'd likely be first if he didn't miss significant time due to injury. Games 1 and 2 will be played in Boston - and possibly Game 5, if there is one. Sale has won just two of his seven starts against NY in two seasons with Boston, but his 38 hits allowed, 69 strikeouts and 2.11 ERA across 47 innings suggest he might have deserved a better fate at times.

The Sox fought off a late comeback from the Yankees to claim a 5-4 Game 1 victory Friday night at Fenway Park.

Since the onset of wild cards in 1995, teams that have outhomered their opponent in a playoff game are 406-132 (.755 winning percentage), including 56-11 (.836) by the Yankees.

Rick Porcello recorded the first two outs in the eighth, and Craig Kimbrel allowed a leadoff homer to Judge in the ninth before securing the four-out save. The over is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these two heated foes, and this one should be filled with offense.

Fast forward to this week, with the teams ready to meet again.

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