Yankees-Red Sox Preview: Rivalry Heats Up Again With Four-Game Series

August 6, 2010   ·     ·   Jump to comments
Article Source: Bleacher Report - New York Yankees

After a one-day plunge into second place in the American League East, the Yankees (67-40) are back atop baseball with the best record in the game as they get set to open up a big four-game series at home against the third-place Red Sox (62-47), who trail New York by six games.

Boston, which has been hampered by injuries to Jason Varitek, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis (who was lost for the season on Thursday), has a chance to jump back in the race for first place if it can pull off a sweep this weekend.

New York, on the other hand, can bury its rival if the Bombers were to win the next four games. But that seems unlikely, as the Red Sox appear to hold the advantage in at least two of the pitching matchups.

This series could come down to Sunday’s game between A.J. Burnett and Josh Beckett, and the Yankees would be very happy to just get a split and keep their distance from the Sox.


Friday, Aug. 6 – Javier Vazquez (9-7, 4.61) vs. Clay Buchholz (11-5, 2.59)

Vazquez continued his predictable season of dominating National League teams and weak American League clubs, while struggling against the better half of the AL when he surrendered four runs over 6 1/3 innings for a no-decision vs. the Rays in his last outing.

The right-hander now has a 5.09 ERA against the AL and a 4.89 mark vs. winning teams. Once again, the Red Sox fit into both of those categories.

Vazquez’s only appearance against Boston this season came on May 17, when he struck out the only batter he faced in relief to earn an 11-9 victory. In 12 career games (10 starts) versus the Sox, the 34-year-old is 3-7 with a 4.21 ERA.

Adrian Beltre (15-for-44, .441, 2 HR), J.D. Drew (10-for-28, .357, 4 HR) and David Ortiz (8-for-25, .320, 2 HR) have all had success facing Vazquez. But the same cannot be said for Victor Martinez (5-for-26, .192).

Buchholz has been brilliant over his past two starts, allowing a total of two earned runs through 15 innings to drop his ERA to second best in the league.

But the righty didn’t look so good against the Yankees on May 8, when he yielded six runs (five earned) on nine hits and five walks over five innings to take a 14-3 loss.

The opener of this series could turn out to be a high-scoring affair because Buchholz is 0-2 with a 6.53 ERA in four career starts vs. New York, including an 8.38 mark in the Bronx.

Robinson Cano is 4-for-11 (.364) off the 25-year-old, while Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter are each 3-for-9 (.333) with two RBI. Mark Teixeira is 3-for-5 (.600) with a homer.

However, Curtis Granderson, Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher and Austin Kearns are a combined 0-for-16 off him, so this may be a good day to give Francisco Cervelli (2-for-3, 3 RBI) the start.


Saturday, Aug. 7 – CC Sabathia (13-5, 3.19) vs. John Lackey (10-6, 4.48)

Sabathia has recorded 12 straight quality starts, but he’s lost his last two outings after winning nine consecutive decisions.

Three of the big lefty’s five no-decisions this season have come against the Red Sox. He has a 4.76 ERA over the 17 innings in those contests. In 14 career starts against Boston, Sabathia is 5-5 with a 3.56, and the current roster hits just .207 off him.

Some of the victims include Beltre (1-for-19, .053, 7 K), Martinez (4-for-19, .211), Drew (4-for-17, .235, 7 K), Jacoby Ellsbury (1-for-13, .077, 6 K) and Bill Hall (1-for-11, .091, 4 K).

The only Red Sox hitter with a lifetime average above .290 against Sabathia is Marco Scutaro (8-for-24, .333).

Lackey once again allowed way too many baserunners in his last start against the Indians. The right-hander yielded six runs on nine hits and five walks in 5 1/3 innings to increase his WHIP to a bloated 1.53.

He didn’t have that problem on April 7, however, when he held the Yankees scoreless over six frames on just three hits and two walks.

Lackey is 5-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 17 career starts against New York, including a 3-3 record and 3.76 mark at the old Yankee Stadium. This will be his first regular-season appearance at the new ballpark.

While pitching for the Angels, he surrendered four runs (two earned) on nine hits and three walks in a 4-1 loss in the Bronx during Game 1 of the AL Championship Series last year.

Teixeira is 19-for-50 (.380) with 11 RBI and eight walks off Lackey. Jeter is 16-for-46 (.348) with six doubles and Posada is 12-for-31 (.387).

However, A-Rod is just 9-for-54 (.167) with an astounding 23 strikeouts and Swisher is 5-for-45 (.111) with 18 K’s, so this may be a good day to give him a rest.


Sunday, Aug. 8 – A.J. Burnett (9-9, 4.93) vs. Josh Beckett (3-1, 5.70)

The Red Sox have the pitching advantage in the first and last game of this series, while the Yanks should win Friday’s contest with Sabathia on the mound.

That means this game could be the difference between a split vs. Boston picking up two games in the standings.

The Pinstripes need a solid outing from Burnett, who gave up more runs in the fifth inning against the Blue Jays on Monday (7) than he did in all of July (6). The right-hander has a tendency to blow up once in a while, but I don’t think it’s reason to panic.

If you remove Burnett’s horrible June, during which pitching coach Dave Eiland was away from the team, his season numbers are pretty impressive at 9-4 with a 3.50 ERA.

The 33-year-old had one of his blow-up starts at Fenway Park on May 9, surrendering nine runs (eight earned) in 4 1/3 innings to take a 9-3 loss.

He pitched a little better in Boston on April 6, when he allowed three earned and struck out five in five innings to earn a no-decision as the Yankees won, 6-4. Burnett is 5-3 with a 4.92 ERA in 14 starts against the Red Sox.

Beltre is 10-for-31 (.323) with six doubles and seven RBI off the righty, but Mike Lowell, who was recently activated off the 15-day disabled list is just 4-for-20 (.200).

Beckett has pitched well since coming off the 60-day DL on July 23. He is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his past three starts.

The right-hander’s last two outings before going on the DL were against the Yankees and he did not pitch well in either of them. In fact, in three outings this season vs. New York, Beckett is 0-1 with a 10.43 ERA.

In his career, he is 9-6 with a 5.95 against the Bombers, but has pitched well at the new Stadium (1-0, 3.06 in three starts).

Robinson Cano is 18-for-52 (.346) with seven doubles, three homers and 12 RBIs off Beckett. Posada is 11-for-33 (.333), but has struck out 10 times.

Teixeira is 4-for-28 (.143) with 10 K’s and Lance Berkman is 3-for-18 (.167) with seven strikeouts, so he better not start. A good replacement would be Marcus Thames (3-for-9, .333, HR).


Monday, Aug. 9 – Dustin Moseley (1-1, 4.13) vs. Jon Lester (11-7, 3.07)

Moseley makes his third start of the season in Monday’s matinee. He has been a serviceable fill-in for Andy Pettitte while the left-hander spends time on the DL.

The 28-year-old right-hander allowed five runs and two homers to the Blue Jays on Tuesday, but he was efficient, lasting into the eighth inning while throwing just 85 pitches.

Moseley was 1-0 with a 5.84 ERA in three appearances (two starts) against the Red Sox during his time with the Angels. He’s held Beltre hitless in six at-bats, but Lowell is 3-for-6 (.500) with two doubles.

Lester is in a rare funk, dropping his last four starts, including a five-inning effort against the Indians on Wednesday during which he suffered cramps in his left hamstring due to the humid weather.

The left-hander, who is second in the league with 154 strikeouts, fanned seven in a 9-3 win over the Yankees on May 9. He allowed four runs over five frames against New York on April 6, however.

Lester is 4-1 with a 4.01 ERA in 10 career starts vs. the Bombers, but is 1-1 with a 4.96 at the new Yankee Stadium.

Jeter (10-for-30, .333) is the only Yankee with more than three at-bats against Lester to have an average above .273. Teixeira and Swisher are each 4-for-19 (.211), while Posada is 3-for-18 (.167). Expect to see Kearns (1-for-2, RBI, walk) start this one.


Follow me on Twitter at JordanHarrison .

Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report’s New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.

Jordan can be reached at jordanschwartz2003@yahoo.com

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