In a crucial three game set at Fenway, Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA) gets the ball first against John Lackey (9-12, 3.48 ERA.) Kuroda put an end to the Yankees’ three game skid his last time out, holding the Red Sox to two runs over six innings in a gritty no decision. He is 1-3 with a 4.26 ERA in five starts vs. Boston this year.
Lackey finally got some run support and a win in his last start, though it was one of his worst of the season. Pitching against the Yankees, he gave up eight hits and seven runs over 5 2/3 innings. Lackey is 2-1 with a 5.79 ERA against New York.
The chase for the second AL Wild Card spot is going strong, with the Yankees beating the Orioles on Thursday to stay within one game of Tampa Bay. They sit a half game ahead of the Indians and 1 1/2 ahead of the O’s and Royals. “We’ve been chasing for the whole year, basically,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “It’s obviously become much more interesting the last three or four weeks as we’ve got guys back. It became a lot more interesting. You know, every day it has that feeling of a playoff game.”
The Yankees will put their recent surge on the line against a team that has won 14 of its past 18 despite. The Yanks will hope for a repeat performance against Lackey after he allowed a season high seven runs over 5 2/3 innings against them last Saturday. While Kuroda can help the Yankees take down a longtime rival, their true enemies are the rest of the teams in the Wild Card mix. That means plenty of eyes will be on Fenway Park’s out-of-town scoreboard. “I’ve said it many times; it’s impossible to ignore. You’re going to see it,” Girardi said. “Just like a game goes up and down, that scoreboard can go up and down, too. You see a team has a lead, then they blow the lead. I think everyone is in tune with it.”
Brett Gardner has been one of the Yankees’ most consistent performers this year, contributing at the plate, in the field and on the bases. Now he could be sidelined at a critical juncture of the season, adding to New York’s injury plagued season. He left Thursday night’s game in Baltimore with a strained left oblique after striking out looking in the first inning. He was replaced by Curtis Granderson in the bottom of the frame and will travel back to New York for an MRI.
Notes on the game.
The Red Sox hold a 10-6 lead in the season series, although the teams have split six games at Fenway Park.
Kuroda has a 4.26 ERA in five starts against the Red Sox this season, while Lackey owns a 5.79 mark in three outings against the Yankees.
First pitch at 7:10 PM on MY9
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