August 6, 2010

Red Sox-Yankees series preview: Youk-less

The biggest rivalry in all of sports starts up again tonight for four games in the Bronx. But if the Red Sox are going to fight their way back into the division race with the Yankees, they’re going to have to do it without their top hitter, Kevin Youkilis.

Youkilis will miss the remainder of the season due to a thumb injury, joining a plethora of Red Sox to miss significant time this season. This injury would be even more devastating to the Red Sox if it weren’t for David Ortiz’s emergence. He’s back in the heart of the order and hitting like the near-MVP he was several seasons last decade.

On the other side of the rivalry, things are looking up now that Alex Rodriguez finally reached No. 600. The Yankees’ bullpen is looking as good as it’s been all season, too, and the team took back sole possession of first after the Rays fell to the Twins yesterday.

The Yankees hold a six-game lead over the Red Sox, but a Red Sox sweep could put them back in the thick of things. On the other hand, a Yankees sweep could put the Red Sox away for good.

Head to Head:
The Yankees have won five out of eight against the Red Sox this season, but have plenty of matchups left. After four games this weekend, they meet in the Bronx three times at the end of September and then three more at Fenway in early October.

Pitching Matchups:

Date: Red Sox starters Yankees starters
Fri., 7:05 p.m. Clay Buchholz (11-5, 2.59) J. Vazquez (9-7, 4.61)
Sat., 4:10 p.m. John Lackey (10-6, 4.48) CC Sabathia (13-5, 3.19)
Sun., 8:00 p.m. Josh Beckett (3-1, 5.70) A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93)
Mon.,2:05 p.m. Jon Lester (11-7, 3.07) D. Moseley (1-1, 4.13)

Players to Watch
Red Sox: Big Papi
. Even when he’s not playing well, he always seems to turn it around against the Yankees. Now that he is, back in the three-hole, I’m even more scared. 

Yankees: Alex Rodriguez. Nothing’s changed here. A-Rod finally got No. 600 over with, so now I expect him to start hitting homers in bunches. Why not start this weekend against the Red Sox? 

I expect a split in this series. It’s just too early for the Red Sox to be eliminated. The Yankees will take the first two and the Red Sox will win in prime time and Monday afternoon.

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