This is it. Probably the biggest series ever played at the new Yankee Stadium; a four-game series between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees.
Derek Jeter gave us the standard rap about every game being important. But when I asked him whether the Stadium would sound differently tonight, he smiled. “Oh yeah, the fans will tell you this is a big game,” he said. “You can feel it.” – Peter Abraham
Jeter knows what’s up. This is a really, really big series.
The Yankees head into the series with a snug 2.5 game lead after sweeping the two-game series with the Blue Jays last night. The Red Sox just lost both games to the Rays and have lost five of their last 10 games, but still are undefeated against the Yankees this season (8-0).
After this series, the Yankees visit Fenway on Aug. 21 and then the rivalry returns to the Bronx on Sept. 25.
Without further ado, let’s get to the pitching matchups.
|Date:||Red Sox starters||Yankees starters|
|7:05 p.m., Thurs.||John Smoltz (2-4, 7.12)||J. Chamberlain (7-2, 3.58)|
|7:05 p.m., Fri.||Josh Beckett (13-4, 3.27)||A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.89)|
|4:10 p.m., Sat.||Clay Buchholz (1-1, 6.05)||CC Sabathia (11-7, 3.95)|
|8:05 p.m., Sun.||Jon Lester (9-7, 3.79)||Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.35)|
The Yankees may have lined up their best four for the series, but the Red Sox are also bringing their best four (Brad Penny = Sergio Mitre). The Yankees have the edge tonight and Saturday, but the Red Sox have the advantage Friday and Sunday. Remember, the Yankees remain in first place if they win just one game.
For tonight, Joba is pitching the best he ever has lately, while Smoltz is yet to throw a quality start for the Sox and has allowed 17 earned runs in his last three starts.
Friday’s matchup will be the third meeting this season for Beckett and Burnett. Burnett blew a five-run lead in the first one, and was outpitched in the second.
The Yankees have an extremely favorable matchup on Saturday, as Buchholz is filling in for injured starters Daisuke Matsuzaka and Tim Wakefield. Sabathia hasn’t been great recently and is 2-5 with a 4.07 ERA in his career against the Red Sox.
The ESPN game should be a great one. Both lefties are pitching great, and in the heat of the rivalry, intensity will be at the max.
The Yankees have a lot of pressure on them to win a game in the season series, and now that they are playing well and are at home, a series split will only be satisfactory for Yankees fans.
Since their last meeting, the Red Sox are 26-20 while the Yankees are 31-16. Alex Rodriguez was still figuring things out in the last series and is now starting to collect some hits. David Ortiz should prepare to hear the loudest jeering of his life, as this series is seen as payback time for all the booing A-Rod received for his PED use.
“They’ll probably give it to him (Ortiz) pretty good." – Michael Kay
Which Big Papi will we see? He’s been a huge factor in the rivalry, but perhaps the new Yankee-killer is Jason Bay. Bay is expected to miss the first two games of the series. His bat will be missed, as he is batting .448 against the Yanks this season.
Also, check out a position breakdown of the two teams from the NY Daily News.
I’m extremely excited for the series (it always helps when I get to watch the Yankees every night (even if it is NESN)).