Going for the jugular
By the way, no Manny tonight, and possibly not at all this weekend,though he is making good progress. matter of fact, he put one off the
Coke Bottles in batting practice.
Coco was scratched at the last minute with a sore left hip. Ellsbury will play center.
Now to the series itself:
Back on May 29, when the Red Sox led the Yankees by 14 1/2 games in the American League East, who could possibly have thought this final meeting between the teams would have some meaning?
In actuality, it’s a pleasant surprise because of the way that it’s happened. The Red Sox have played well. The Yankees have been nearly unstoppable. Boston still holds a 5 1/2 game lead in the division, but the teams are still just close enough to keep the intensity burning.
Honestly, everything is more fun when the Yankees and Red Sox are chasing for the same thing. I would guess that in about three weeks, both teams are going to be eyeing a ticket to the American League Championship Series, where they could meet each other for the third time in five years. That would have all the makings of another epic showdown — right up there with ’03 and ’04.
The immediate task for the Red Sox this weekend is to make some type of stand against the Yankees to prove to themselves that they can beat this team in a big game. Last year, the Yankees won every big game between the two. And ever since the Red Sox cleaned up on the Yankees earlier this year, taking five of the first six, New York has owned Boston.
The Red Sox would like to shake that feeling before the postseason. Some real fun pitching matchups in store for the weekend.
Friday: Dice-K vs. Pettite; Dice-K was horrible in his last start but does that instantly make everyong forget how good he was at times earlier this season? This is a cross roads type of start for Matsuzaka’s rookie year. As for Pettitte, he always seems to keep the Yankees close in big games o I wouldn’t expect tonight to be any different.
Saturday: Beckett vs. Wang: Nothing short of the battle for American League Cy Young Award right in everyone’s face. Right now, the edge goes to Beckett. But if the Yankees belt Beckett around like they did last time and Wang hurls another gem, the momentum could shift.
Sunday: Schilling vs. Clemens: Enuf said. A borderline future Hall of Famer against a no questions asked, 100 percent guaranteed Hall of Famer. I know that Schilling doesn’t throw in the mid 90s anymore. But in a big game, you still have to like it when this guy takes the ball. Overall, Schilling has been a better big game pitcher in my opinion than Clemens. Let’s see what happens on Sunday.
My prediction: Red Sox take 2 out of 3, increase the lead to 6 1/2 and basically wrap up the division. The only way the Yankees have a real chance at winning the division is if they sweep.