BOSTON — Frankie Montas will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry when he starts on Saturday at Fenway Park, and he’s confident he’s ready for it.
“Everybody knows these two teams, so I’m pretty excited to pitch in it,’’ Montas said Friday before the Yankees’ 3-2, 10-inning loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “Every pitcher lives for these moments, especially in this rivalry.”
Montas’ tenure with the Yankees got off to a rough start in St. Louis, where he was pounded for six runs in three innings against the Cardinals on Sunday.
It was his third start since coming off the right shoulder inflammation that plagued him last month with the Athletics before he was traded to the Yankees.
After his Yankees debut, Montas said his arm and shoulder felt fine and blamed the poor outing on shaky mechanics.
That could have been due to the fact he hadn’t pitched in 11 days, in part because he was on the bereavement list following the death of his wife’s mother.
Montas also arrived in St. Louis the night before his outing and met many of his new teammates in the clubhouse at Busch Stadium, shortly before taking the mound.
He was also limited to 64 pitches, a number that figures to increase on Saturday and for the future, as long as his shoulder doesn’t have further issues.
The 29-year-old will be pitching Saturday on a more typical schedule and he’s confident he will return to form.
“I’ve been working on getting my release point back and I think it’s good,’’ Montas said.
The spotlight will be on Montas the rest of the way, especially since the Yankees missed out on acquiring Luis Castillo, who was traded from the Reds to the Mariners and has beaten the Yankees three times in less than a month.
The Yankees also weakened their rotation by trading Jordan Montgomery to the Cardinals in exchange for injured outfielder Harrison Bader — and Montgomery also knocked off the Yankees in St. Louis last Saturday.
Montas, who was acquired in exchange for four minor leaguers — including three pitchers — believes he will prove his worth down the stretch, beginning Saturday.
“Every pitcher lives for these moments,’’ Montas said. “I like pitching in big games and look forward to showing what I can do. Games like this with this environment give you adrenaline.”
The last big-name pitcher the Yankees got in a trade from Oakland, Sonny Gray, didn’t fare well in the new surroundings. Gray was unable to ever get comfortable in The Bronx, but reverted to his All-Star form as soon as he was shipped to Cincinnati.
Montas has gotten a dose of how much different it is pitching for the Yankees compared to the A’s over the past week.
“Even though we’ve been on the road for my first two series, the fan base has been crazy,’’ Montas said. “They have fans everywhere and I want to see what it’s like here, not just [Saturday], but all three games.”
Saturday is the game the Yankees are the most curious about, since another subpar outing from Montas will no doubt raise questions.