New York Yankees-Boston Red Sox: Series Breakdown

August 6, 2009   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

The hype is over. The time for talk is done. It’s now time to either put up or shut up.

Thursday will start a four-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.

The Yankees enter the series in first place in the A.L. East with a record of 65-42. They have won three in a row and swept the Toronto Blue Jays on the road. At home they are 35-17.

The Red Sox come into the series standing at 62-44, trailing the Yankees by just two-and-a-half games in the A.L. East. They have lost two in a row, as they were defeated in a short sweep by the Tampa Bay Rays. On the road, they are an even 27-27.

The series is 8-0 Red Sox, but those games were in April, May, and June. This is August baseball, where the games are starting to mean more because playoff positioning is beginning to happen.

If either team wants to gain ground on the other, this series is vital.

Let’s look at each of the upcoming games:


Thursday, August 6: Joba Chamberlain (7-2, 3.58) vs John Smoltz (2-4, 7.12)

Joba Chamberlain has been pitching lights out as of late and Joe Girardi pushed Joba’s start from Tuesday to this game so Sergio Mitre wouldn’t have to face Boston. Joba is 3-0 since the All-Star break and he is pitching like the starter we all have expected him to be. John Smoltz is in the twilight of his career and has gotten hit hard this season with Boston. He’s had a couple of decent starts, but other than that, Smoltz is nowhere near the type of pitcher he was when he was with the Braves. The key for the Yankees is to pound Smoltz early, make him throw a lot of pitches and make mistakes. Joba must do what he’s done the past few weeks, which is keep attacking the zone and be fearless.


Friday, August 7: A.J. Burnett (10-5, 3.89) vs Josh Beckett (13-4, 3.27)

This is probably the best of the four pitching matchups. A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett have faced off twice this season. The first game, they were both battered around and in the second game, Burnett had his worst start of the season, while Beckett cruised to victory. Both of those games were at Fenway Park, so Burnett has yet to face Boston at home. Up until this year, Burnett dominated the Red Sox and with his confidence back and pitching well as of late, Burnett should be able to give the Yankees depth. Beckett is a solid ace who always gives the Yankees troubles, but he has his moments where he just gets hit hard. If the Yankees can be aggressive like they were in April, they can get to Beckett.


Saturday, August 8: CC Sabathia (11-7, 3.95) vs Clay Buchholz (1-1, 6.05)

This game will be featured on FOX and it will have the Yankees ace against the youngest member of Boston’s rotation, who is in the majors due to injuries to Tim Wakefield and Daisuke Matsuzaka. Last time CC Sabathia faced Boston, he pitched well into the eighth inning before running out of gas and the Red Sox capitalized on the Yankees’ struggling bullpen. But Sabathia showed he was up to the task of silencing the Boston bats. Clay Buchholz has struggled in 2009 and has gotten hit around. He’s also struggled against the Yankees in the past. This will be the toughest game for the Red Sox to win and perhaps the best chance for the Yankees to win.


Sunday, August 9: Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.35) vs Jon Lester (9-7, 3.79)

This will be featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball and should be another good pitching match. Andy Pettitte has been very strong since the break and has been striking out a lot of hitters. He went toe-to-toe with Roy Halladay, out-pitching him and winning against him, which can do wonders for a pitchers confidence. Jon Lester’s numbers aren’t like his 2008 stats, but he’s pitched better as of late, and he’s been good against the Yankees before. He wasn’t though in his first start in April, where the Yankees knocked him around. But when the spotlight is on, Lester is almost like another ace. However, so is Pettitte, as he is the Yankees’ most experienced and clutch pitcher. Pettitte also has a 16-9 career record against Boston.

Those were the pitching matchups. Now, lets look at the tentative lineups.


New York Yankees Probable Lineup

SS Derek Jeter: .318, 11 HR, 44 RBI

LF Johnny Damon: .283, 19 HR, 63 RBI

1B Mark Teixeira: .284, 27 HR, 80 RBI

3B Alex Rodriguez: .261, 19 HR, 60 RBI

C Jorge Posada: .272, 13 HR, 47 RBI

DH Hideki Matsui: .260, 16 HR, 49 RBI

RF Nick Swisher: .243, 18 HR, 55 RBI

2B Robinson Cano: .308, 16 HR, 56 RBI

CF Melky Cabrera: .284, 10 HR, 40 RBI

Jose Molina is the backup catcher and could get work in, if Posada needs a day off. Eric Hinske and Jerry Hairston have been key backups who could find playing time as well when needed, especially due to Brett Gardner’s injury.


Boston Red Sox Probable Lineup

CF Jacoby Ellsbury: .301, 6 HR, 35 RBI

2B Dustin Pedrioa: .302, 7 HR, 46 RBI

1B Victor Martinez: .294, 16 HR, 73 RBI

3B Kevin Youkilis: .312, 20 HR, 66 RBI

LF Jason Bay: .252, 21 HR, 75 RBI

DH David Ortiz: .225, 15 HR, 61 RBI

RF J.D. Drew: .248, 12 HR, 43 RBI

C Jason Varitek: .229, 13 HR, 44 RBI

SS Jed Lowrie: .148, 1 HR, 7 RBI

Mike Lowell (.296, 11 HR, 53 RBI) could platoon as the other third basemen or designated hitter if Ortiz does not play with the past steroid allegations hovering. Martinez could be used as Varitek’s backup, and they also have George Kottaras as the other catcher if they need to keep Martinez at first.

So there you have it. You have the pitching matchups and the tentative lineups for the games in this four-game series. It’s the fourth installment of the Yankees-Red Sox wars. The Yankees need to win the series to push the Red Sox back in the division, while Boston is looking to continue their success against New York in 2009.


Series Prediction

This series should go differently from the previous three. I am picking the Yankees to win three of four against Boston and further their lead in the A.L. East.


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