Major League Baseball’s most historic rivalry is coming to London this weekend as the New York Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox.
Plenty of star names will be on display during the two-game series with UK fans set to be treated to the first taste of live MLB action inside Europe.
RadioTimes.com has rounded up some of the key players to watch when the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees take the field.
- MLB London Series: How to watch on TV and online, dates, times, stadium details
- MLB EXPLAINED: Complete guide to baseball rules ahead of MLB London: Yankees v Red Sox
Aaron Judge (New York Yankees):
Position: right field
It’s only his third season in the Majors, but Aaron Judge is already a bona-fide superstar. The California native quickly made a name for himself in 2017, belting 52 home runs and breaking a 30-year record for the most hit by a rookie in the process, earning him the American League Rookie of The Year award.
Since 2017, 6’7”Judge has become the face of the franchise, and a two-time All-Star. Hampered by a left oblique strain for two months, Judge returned to the lineup last week and immediately contributed, with eight hits—including two home runs—and five runs batted in.
Rick Porcello (Boston Red Sox)
Position: starting pitcher
If all goes to plan, Rick Porcello will throw the first-ever Major League pitch in Europe. Porcello has had an inconsistent year—he’s been credited with 5 wins and 7 losses. His Earned Run Average (ERA) has been hovering just above the league average, and is coming off a loss in his last start.
Porcello took home the Cy Young Award—the award for the top pitchers in each league—in 2016. When he is on form and locating his pitches well, he can absolutely dominate a game and throw batters off-balance, which will be crucial in quieting strong hitters like Aaron Judge.
Mookie Betts (Boston Red Sox)
Position: right field
Part of last year’s World Series championship team, Betts was also voted Most Valuable Player in the American League for 2018. At 5’7”, he is undersized for a baseball player: the league average is just over six feet tall.
Betts is an elite all-around player, making some spectacular plays in the outfield as well as having an offensive impact. His hitting numbers have gone down considerably since his spectacular MVP season—some say due to pitchers taking a different approach—but he seems due for a rebound. Maybe the change of scenery will be just what Betts needs.
Edwin Encarnacion (New York Yankees)
Position: first base/designated hitter
Edwin Encarnacion recently joined the Yankees from the Seattle Mariners. The veteran from the Dominican Republic, a country that produces many of baseball’s best players, may be past his career prime, but he continues to contribute at the plate. His home run on Thursday night against the Toronto Blue Jays, his team from 2009-2016, propelled the Yankees to victory.
The designated hitter, who also plays first base, is perhaps the most well-travelled MLB player this season. The Mariners were part of one of baseball’s other international adventures this season, playing their first two regular season games in Tokyo. If Encarnacion plays in this series, he will have played in MLB games on three continents this season.
If the slugger hits a home run this series, watch out for parrot references. A few years ago, a savvy fan added a parrot to a video of Encarnacion’s unique, elbow-up home run trot, and the rest was the stuff of viral history.