Boston has been hit hard with the unfortunate injury bug. Making the six and a half games the Red Sox need to catch the first place Yankees, who are tied with Tampa Bay Rays, not completely out of reach.
This puts a lot of pressure on Boston, as the importance of winning in the Bronx is pretty much a make or break situation.
The Yankees can’t afford to lose the series either because the Rays are playing great baseball right now.
It is no secret that the Yankees have lost two series in a row and to say that Alex Rodriguez’s 600 mark turned the team around has yet to be proven.
The Red Sox most recent DL member is first baseman Kevin Youkilis who is one of the best hitters in baseball and a Yankees killer. Youkilis is a significant loss and his absence will be noticed by both ball-clubs.
The Red Sox have their pitchers all back now and all healthy, so the Yankees have to counter at the plate.
Since pitching always dictates, let’s look at the four match-ups, over two posts:
Vazquez has gone from abominable to reliable in the Yankees rotation. Vazquez hasn’t lost since June 30th, and in his last 10 starts he has a 3.50 ERA, with 46 strikeouts. Vazquez’s career against Boston posts a 4.21 ERA, with 10.0 K/9 ratio, a total of 56 strikeouts and over 66 innings pitched. JD Drew and David Ortiz could cause Vazquez the most problems.
Buchholz has been strong since spending about a month on the DL, after injuring his right hamstring running the base-pads during inter-league play. Buchholz is 11-5, with a 2.59 ERA and in his last outing he pitched eight solid innings. Over his last 10 starts the youngster has gone 6-2, with a 2.05 ERA, struck-out 43 batters and just over 61 innings pitched. Yankees hitters have .298 batting average vs. Buchholz, who has a 6.53 ERA against New York. In 57 at-bats, Buchholz has only stuck-out eight Yankees.
Both pitchers need to have solid outings, but the Yankee hitters look to score more runs. It will be a no-decision; Yankees win 6-2.
Yankee’s ace CC Sabathia has been shaky lately, but he is too competitive to lose another game. Sabathia will truly be tested facing the Red Sox line-up. The absence of Youkilis and his .409 batting average vs. Sabathia should provide some relief, but Sabathia needs to bring his A-game regardless. In 2010, he has made three starts against the Red Sox, pitching 17 innings total, posting a 4.76 ERA, with 13 strikeouts. Sabathia has lost his last two starts, the latest against the Rays and it was not his fault considering the odd line-up Skipper Joe Girardi had on the field.
John Lackey is a very familiar face in Yankees Universe, but his last time in the Bronx was the 2009 ALCS when he was still an Los Angeles Angel. Lackey’s time as a Red Sox this season has fared mediocre, as he posts a 10-6 record, with 4.48 ERA, allowing 70 earned runs, and a messily 88 strikeouts. In his last putting he only pitched 5 innings, giving up nine hits and six runs scored. In 2010, 87.5% of opponents have made contact against Lackey and he has digressed since his days on the Angels.
Unless Lackey has some flashback that inspires his arm, this is Sabathia’s game to lose. Yankees win 9-2.
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