August 21, 2009

Yankees-Red Sox series preview

It’s that time of the month again. It’s Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway for a weekend set, concluding with the always dramatic ESPN Sunday night game.

The Red Sox (69-51) blew their perfect record against the Yanks in their last meeting two weeks ago. The Yankees (76-45) quickly transformed an embarrassing season against their rivals to a respectable 8-4 record after sweeping the Sox in what I called Boston Massacre III.

However, last time it wasn’t in Boston. Now it is. As you will see in the pitching matchups, the Yankees — once again — have their rotation lined up perfectly, while the Red Sox will have to do without Jon Lester.

The Red Sox nailed down the first eight against their rivals, but the Yanks took the last four. After this series, the Yanks wrap up the rivalry in the Bronx at the end of September for three final games. The only way the Yankees can win the season series is if they go undefeated. Winning five out of six earns them a tie.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Yankees starters: Red Sox starters:
7:10 p.m., Fri. Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.09) Brad Penny (7-7, 5.22)
4:10 p.m., Sat. A.J. Burnett (10-6, 3.69) Junichi Tazawa (1-2, 5.40)
8:05 p.m., Sun. CC Sabathia (14-7, 3.58) Josh Beckett (14-4, 3.38)
Pettitte has been the best starter for the Yanks since the All-Star break in terms of ERA and WHIP, but only has a 1-1 record to show for it. Penny is winless since July 24, and sits between five and six innings in the majority of his starts this season.

Saturday’s Fox game is tough to analyze. The Yankees have played terribly while airing on Fox this year (and in the past), but Tazawa shouldn’t cause any problems for their offense. Remember, Alex Rodriguez’s walk-off homer in the 15th inning came off Tazawa.

Sunday night’s game should be a gem. Sabathia and Beckett are tied for the major league lead in wins, and both have been pitching brilliantly as of late. This might be the most exciting game of the year for me because I always love a great pitchers’ duel.

My Outlook:
Frankly, the Yankees just have to avoid being swept to secure their AL East crown. A huge advantage in the first two games leads me to believe that this will be a good weekend at Fenway. However, an 0-6 record in Boston is quite daunting heading into the series. I wouldn’t mind losing two out of three as long as Sabathia outduels Beckett. Otherwise, I’m hoping for a sweep.

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