Yankees-Red Sox in London today, 1 p.m. ET

June 29th, 2019

LONDON -- The Red Sox and Yankees soaked in London upon arrival, viewing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, gawking at the double-decker buses and brilliant architecture, then enjoying a gala at the Tower of London. The rivals know that it is now time to focus on baseball.

The inaugural London Series takes place today (1:10 p.m. ET) and Sunday (10:10 a.m. ET), and these promise to be important games in the American League East standings.

At 52-28, the first-place Yankees could drop the hammer on the third-place Sox, who are nine games out. For the Red Sox (44-38), two wins in London could inch them back to a more comfortable distance behind New York.

"Once we get between the lines and the game starts, it's game on," said the Yankees' . "We're going to treat it just like that. It'll be tough being somewhere we're not familiar for a lot of guys, but we're all competitors. Once the game starts, we'll be out there just like the Red Sox and compete."

The epic battles the teams have waged at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium have been a sizable part of the game's history. Taking the rivalry to Europe is something both sides are relishing.

“We’re excited to play here, being the first games [in London],” said Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts. “It’s still another game that we have to take seriously and go out and win. I’m definitely excited.”

The electricity is what these two battle-tested teams have become accustomed to from playing in October.

“I think the media attention and a lot of, for lack of a better word, the hoopla around it, is very similar to what you see in the postseason,” said Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello. “That vibe is definitely there, doing these interviews and the cameras, some of the extracurricular stuff that you don't normally see in a regular-season game are all present. That’s kind of the feeling we have.”

Here are some answers to some frequently asked questions leading up to Saturday’s opening game.

How can I watch or listen to the games?

Both games will be on national television. The opener is on FOX, with a scheduled first pitch of 1:10 p.m. ET. Game 2 is on ESPN, and early Sunday-morning risers will appreciate the 10:10 a.m. ET start.

In Boston, the game can be heard on the flagship station of 93.7 FM (WEEI). There will be a distinguished broadcasting trio of Joe Castiglione, Sean McDonough and Dave O’Brien.

Fans within reach of the Yankees radio network will be able to hear John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on the call via 101.9 FM (WFAN) and its affiliates.

Who will be the starting pitchers?

Porcello, who has been with the Red Sox since 2015, draws the assignment in the first game. The veteran sinkerballer is known for his durability and being a clubhouse leader.

“Obviously when I woke up this morning and look toward tomorrow, it’s me getting locked in mentally, preparing the way I normally do and do what I’ve got to do to give us a chance to win,” said Porcello. “I had a great time yesterday, but as far as today and tomorrow go, it’s back to business as usual, getting focused and preparing the way I need to prepare.”

Lefty , who is seemingly always trying to reach his potential, gets the nod for Boston in Sunday’s finale. As in all of his seasons, Rodriguez has displayed flashes of brilliance. The Red Sox would like to see it more often.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone has confirmed that will start the first game. He has been among the club's most consistent performers since making his big league debut in 2014, though the command of his trademark splitter has been spotty this year. The Yankees have not announced their starter for the second game, but Boone indicated that it will probably be an opener -- likely , behind whom the Yanks are 7-0 this season.

What are the starting lineups?


  1. DJ LeMahieu, 3B
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Gary Sanchez, C
  4. Luke Voit, 1B
  5. Didi Gregorius, SS
  6. Edwin Encarnacion, DH
  7. Aaron Hicks, CF
  8. Gleyber Torres, 2B
  9. Brett Gardner, LF

Red Sox:

  1. Mookie Betts, RF
  2. Rafael Devers, 3B
  3. Xander Bogaerts, SS
  4. J.D. Martinez, DH
  5. Andrew Benintendi, LF
  6. Christian Vazquez, C
  7. Brock Holt, 2B
  8. Michael Chavis, 1B
  9. Jackie Bradley Jr., CF

Who will the teams carry as the 26th man and taxi-squad players?

MLB is allowing both teams to carry a 26th player on the roster for the games, and also two additional players who are on a “taxi squad” and could replace another player on the roster if necessary.

The Red Sox added first baseman as the 26th player, and he offers them depth off the bench at a time (left hamstring) is banged up, and and are both on the injured list. Right-hander and Minor League catcher Oscar Hernandez are the two players on the taxi squad.

The Yankees brought infielder/outfielder as their 26th man. Catcher and right-hander are on their taxi squad in the event of injury.

What's the status of Giancarlo Stanton?

The Yankees welcomed Judge back to the lineup this past week, having missed the slugger's presence since he sustained a left oblique injury on April 20, but they will continue to be without for a considerable amount of time. Stanton is expected to miss more than two weeks and potentially a month after sustaining a right knee strain during the club's homestand.

What was the impetus for London Series?

This is the next step in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s quest to grow the game globally. Saturday will mark the first MLB game played in Europe, and the hope is that this can turn England and other European countries on to baseball. Perhaps the electricity generated can help England and surrounding countries become a potential breeding ground for MLB players. It was recently announced that the Cubs and Cardinals -- longtime National League rivals -- will play in the 2020 London Series.

Where will the games be played?

Both games will be at London Stadium, a venue that was built for the 2012 Olympics and has been mainly used for soccer. It is the home of the West Ham United soccer team of the Premier League. The baseball field was built for this series -- on top of the pitch (the playing surface for soccer). Artificial turf and dirt have been installed within the last few weeks. Foul poles were built. And one thing you’ll surely notice is that there is a ton of foul territory, which could aid the pitchers. But the fairly short poke to the center-field fence -- 388 feet -- should help the hitters.

“The stadium looks great,” said Porcello. “The ballpark setup looks fantastic. As far as the dimensions go, 388 is nine feet of breathing room compared to Fenway, so that’s not bad. It’s 379 to center there. We’ll take it.”

Who is the home team?

Though London Stadium is far from Fenway Park, these two games will be home games for the Red Sox as part of the agreement the teams made with MLB when the series was agreed upon. This means that the Red Sox could have their first-ever walk-off hit outside of the 617 area code. It will also be the first time they’ve ever traveled with their historic home whites. The Yankees will also wear their home pinstripes so that fans can get a flavor of the history of both teams. Due to Boston being the home team, the Yankees will visit Fenway twice this season rather than the usual three times.

When was the last time these teams played in a different continent?

For the Red Sox, this will be just their second time playing outside of North America. The last time was 2008 in Tokyo, when Cora was a player for Boston. The Red Sox split those two games against the Oakland Athletics.

The Yankees' most recent regular-season game played away from the mainland was in 2004, when they opened the season against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Tokyo Dome. New York split those games, dropping the opener before Hideki Matsui homered in a 12-1 win.

What should I know about London as a sports city?

London is filled with certified sports junkies. Much of the passion is for soccer, rugby and cricket. But this weekend, expect the fans to fully sink their teeth into the novelty of professional baseball being played in their city for the first time. Tickets for the London Series were snapped up almost immediately after going on sale.

What should I know about London as a city?

London is one of the top tourist cities in the world for a reason. It is filled with fascinating history and beautiful views. You can be sure there will be Red Sox and Yankees fans all weekend in town to check out the London Eye, the London Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. There are also a massive amount of theater shows that will make Yankees fans feel like they are in Europe’s version of Broadway.

Quick hits

• London would be a good time for last year’s AL Most Valuable Player Award winner Betts to catch fire for the Sox. In June, Betts is hitting .214. His OPS for the season is .838, which is solid. However, last year he finished at 1.078.

• London Stadium figures to have hitter-friendly dimensions, so the Yankees' ongoing home run streak -- 29 games and counting through Wednesday's action -- has an excellent chance to continue through the European trip. The previous Major League record was 27 homers, by the 2002 Texas Rangers.

• The Yankees have had the upper hand in the rivalry so far this season, winning four of the first five games -- all of them played at Yankee Stadium. Zeros will be hard to come by for Boston's hurlers; the Yanks haven't been shut out in 162 games, the sixth-longest stretch in the Modern Era (since 1900).

• The case can be made that third baseman has been Boston’s best all-around hitter this season. Devers comes into this series on fire, having gone 7-for-9 with four doubles in his past two games. The 22-year-old has infectious enthusiasm.

• The bullpen remains an ongoing concern for the Red Sox. Their best reliever going into the season was righty , but he has struggled mightily of late and has a 7.82 ERA in June. The pressure is mounting for president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski to add some bullpen help, and that will only be magnified if Cora’s relievers struggle on the international stage.