Red Sox at Yankees Series Preview
The Red Sox, winners of five of their last seven roll into the Bronx to take on the Yankees, who are losers of five straight, including a four-game, Subway Series sweep against the cross town Mets.
May 22, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Clay Buchholz (11) delivers a pitch against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Sox should be looking to take AT LEAST two of three from the Bombers, as any less than that would be disappointing against an AL East foe. If the Sox win only one game of the series, their two-game lead would be pared down to a meager one game. But if they were to be swept, Boston would all of a sudden find themselves in a one game hole in the hyper-competitive Eastern division. On another note, a win tonight gives the Sox their first consecutive winning months to open a season since 2009. But after the disastrous start to the month, I suppose we can’t be disappointed even if they finish at an even .500.
The Red Sox are coming to New York at the perfect time though, as I already mentioned, the Bronx Bombers have lost five straight coming into tonight. The New York offense seems to be struggling and reminding us all that it is full of replacement parts and not the overpriced stars that have comprised the Yankees in years past. That said, the Yankees do figure to get two key pieces back this weekend, adding Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis at some point this series. For the most part the Yankees’ pitching staff has been decent though, so that alone should put the Sox in for a fight.
Game One. Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia (Friday 7:05pm EST)
Clay Buchholz was originally supposed to get the ball in the series opener, but with his AC joint still acting up, he was pushed back to Sunday and Lester gets the nod instead. These two pitchers are arguably the two best lefties in the AL East (Not counting David Price, who has been ineffective and injured this year). Lester has been the first of two aces for Boston this year, behind Buchholz, and while his strike outs are down, he is still productive when he’s on the mound. Sabathia on the other hand, while still the ace of the New York staff, has scuffled a bit this year. He’s sporting a pedestrian 3.96 ERA in 11 games started and has been striking out only 7.6 batters per nine. The Sox are probably hoping for a repeat of his opening day start, or of his last two starts, productions in which he surrendered 11 runs in 13.1 innings pitched.
Game Two. Felix Doubront vs. Phil Hughes (Saturday 7:15pm EST)
The second game of the series is the one most likely for an implosion, from either side. Doubront has been up and down this season giving up walks and runs like nobody’s business. Hughes has been his own special kind of shaky this season, watching his ERA balloon up to 4.97 on the year. Hughes is coming off two decent starts against the Mets and Orioles, so there’s a chance he’s found something in his arsenal that’s working.
Game Three. Clay Buchholz vs. Hiroki Kuroda (Sunday 8:00pm EST)
The marquee matchup of the series gets the broadcast on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. Both pitchers have stepped into the role of ace for their teams, with Kuroda filling in for the scuffling Sabathia, and Buchholz complimenting Lester at the top of Boston’s rotation. They are both in the middle of their best seasons so this game should be a great match up. Buchholz sports an AL best 1.73 ERA and Kuroda isn’t far behind, coming in at number five with a similarly sparking 2.39 ERA.