I find it crazy that we’re going to have played the Red Sox eight times and played an interleague series before we face the Blue Jays once this year, but I digress. The New York Yankees (24-13) have taken four of six from the Boston Red Sox (19-19) this season going into the miniaturized two game series later tonight. In the most recent meeting at Fenway both teams scored a combined 42 runs in three games, so let’s just say the pitching hasn’t been very great when these two teams get together.
That statement might not be entirely true, as there have been some flashes of brilliance in a few games (see Phil Hughes), but in general it’s been a toss up on whose going to get lit up each game. This series should prove differently though, or at least it has the potential too. In his last outing against the Sox, Phil Hughes threw seven innings of two run ball, striking out seven along the way. After a rough start to the season, Daisuke Matsuzaka threw a gem against the Blue Jays his last time out, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings. Tonight’s game could be a solid pitchers duel, or both starters could throw a clunker, we’ll just have to wait and see. I expect solid outings from both pitchers though.
Tuesday night’s matchup is a battle of big name, big contact starters. CC Sabathia will be throwing against Josh Beckett, and these two can be nearly unhittable on any given night. Sabathia will be looking to bounce back after a poor outing against the Detroit Tigers. He has two no-decisions this season against the Red Sox, with the first being a bad start on Opening Day and the second being his rain shortened affair where he was throwing the ball pretty well. Beckett is 0-1 in two outings this season against the Yankees, with both being poor starts. In his last start he completely lost the strike zone and hit Robinson Cano and Derek Jeter, while brushing back Francisco Cervelli twice. Things could get messy on Tuesday if Beckett plunks any more Yankees, so keep an eye on that.
The Yankees come into this short series taking two of three from the Twins, having lost the final game in rather tragic fashion. Hopefully they can put that game behind them quickly and show up to play tonight.
RHP Phil Hughes (5-0, 1.38) vs. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-1, 6.35)
LHP CC Sabathia (4-2, 3.71) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-1, 7.46)
- Rob alluded to it before the series with the Twins, but it’s worth repeating. Mark Teixeira is back to his old self. In the three games against the Twins he was 6 for 12 with a home run and four RBI. If the Yankees are going to continue to win ball games with players on the DL, then Tex is going to have to keep producing.
- Due to the rainout in Detroit, the Yankees were faced with a decision about their rotation. Manager Joe Girardi opted to skip Javier Vazquez’s start and let the rest of the rotation throw on normal rest. Brian pointed out an important problem with skipping Javy’s start, and I totally agree. The guy is here to throw 200 innings, just let him go out there and figure it out.
- Injured Yankees News: Nick Johnson might undergo wrist surgery that would keep him out of action until July. UPDATE: He will undergo surgery. On a happier note, Curtis Granderson ran pain free. There is still no timetable for his return, but the good news is appreciated; I miss him.
- Jorge Posada took a foul ball off his foot on Sunday and will not be in the lineup tonight. Frankie Cervelli will be behind the plate and batting sixth tonight. I’m curious how he’s going to play batting behind Cano tonight.
Yankees Keys to Series
- If you couldn’t tell by my blabbering above, I’m big on the starting pitching in these two games. Hughes and Sabathia need to deliver.
- Off to the races? It’s no secret that the Yankees (and everyone else) like to run on Boston’s catcher Victor Martinez. If the Yankees can get runners on and stay active on the bases then their chances of winning obviously improve.
- Battle of the bullpens. The late innings relievers have been great for both teams, but the same cannot be said for middle relief. Forcing moves to the bullpen early favor both teams, so let’s hope it works in our favor. Also, Girardi loves Damaso Marte, so hopefully he delievers when he’s called upon to get the lefties out.
The Yanks will win one of two. I see Hughes finally losing a game this season, but I don’t think it’s going to be ugly. Matsuzaka will just out duel him for the victory. CC Sabathia will outpitch Josh Beckett Tuesday night, but I expect another close game.