Red Sox vs. Yankees series preview
It’s Red Sox vs. Yankees, only it’s not. Consider this:
Add to the fact that the Yankees have integrated Chase Headley, Martin Prado and (thank you!) Stephen Drew into their lineup while the Red Sox recently acquired current and former All-Stars Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig, respectively, and you’ve got two teams that barely resemble their Opening Day counterparts, much less rivals of the past.
That said, the Yankees are still in it (five games out in the AL East, 3.5 in the Wild Card) while Boston is looking ahead to next year. The result: a series where absolutely anything can happen. I spoke with Billy Brost, co-editor at FanSided’s mega-popular Yanks Go Yard site, about the state of the Bombers:
BSI: Seems like the Yankees made out well with their early trades, adding Chase Headley, Brandon McCarthy and a cool million bucks for Yangervis Solarte, Vidal Nuno, and a minor leaguer. What are your early impressions of the veterans?
YGY: I’ve been extremely happy with the acquisitions the Yankees made heading towards the deadline. Headley has found his stroke again and has played Gold Glove-caliber defense, and as for McCarthy, I actually wrote about how he would be the perfect buy-low candidate, and it’s worked out perfectly. I’m also glad that Solarte has given a charge of energy to the Padres. I love his story and hope nothing but the best for him in the future. As for Vidal Nuno, well, let’s just say Yankees fans are glad he’s gone.
BSI: Did you expect Brett Gardner to have a career year at 30, after signing a four-year, $52 million deal last winter? He’s been out of control.
YGY: Nobody saw this coming with Gardner, and if they say otherwise, they are lying. His extension looks like a steal now, compared to what a player putting up career numbers for power, slugging, OPS, etc., would get on the open market this off-season, plus he’s a Gold Glove-caliber outfielder. There’s been talk among some of our staff members that if his season continues the way it does, and the Yankees can somehow make the postseason, Gardy is your AL MVP.
BSI: What are you hearing on Masahiro Tanaka? Obviously, the Bombers’ pitching staff has been banged up and that’s a major hit.
BSI: Name one struggling vet who you think is poised for a breakout in the second half.
YGY: The one Yankees who struggled during most of the first half and should be poised for a big second half, is Brian McCann. People have continually bagged on him because he isn’t hitting one out every night. His bat will come around, he’s playing solid defense, and is the major reason the Yankees starting pitching continues to compete each night, even with the replacements.
BSI: Given all the injuries, the Yankees have managed to hang around, and are just 3.5 games out of the Wild Card. Do you think they have what it takes to get into the postseason?
YGY: Unfortunately, I’m not buying into the Yankees as a playoff team. I hope I’m wrong. The injuries, the lack of offense, etc, are just too much for a veteran team to overcome in my opinion. I picked them to finish 3rd in the AL East in the preseason, missing the playoffs altogether.
BSI: Finally, how excited are you about the acquisition of Stephen Drew?
YGY: Stephen Drew…ha ha. I think he’s better defensively than Brian Roberts (even though he’s played what, one career game at second base?) He’s a smart ballplayer, and anything he contributes at the plate will be icing on the cake.
The move I’m excited about is Martin Prado. He’s a better version of Kelly Johnson. He’s a pro at the plate, can play all of the infield positions, and will now be the everyday right-fielder.
I think the Yankees take two of three, with tonight’s game being a complete dumpster fire for the Yankees and Chris Capuano.
The aforementioned Capuano (1-1, 4.30), a Springfield native and former Red Sox lefty, pitched six strong innings in his first start for the Yankees, yielding just two runs. He was troubled by four walks in the outing. He takes the mound tonight against Anthony Ranaudo, making his Major League debut for the Sox.
In another matchup of unheralded starters, Allen Webster (1-0, 3.38) goes for Boston on Saturday afternoon against Shane Greene (2-1, 3.28). The series concludes with Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.87), trying to salvage his season, against David Phelps (5-5, 3.89) who has stepped up in the absence of Tanaka, Pineda, C.C. Sabathia and Ivan Nova.
First pitch tonight is at 7:10 from Fenway.