First place is on the line as the Yankees take their seven-game win streak into Fenway to face the Boston Red Sox for a three game weekend series. During the Yankees winning streak they were able to close in on the Sox and as of last night, tie for the lead in the AL East.
Offensively, these two teams possess two of the best lineups from top to bottom in the entire league. The Yankees have been scoring at will, especially in their series against the White Sox, while the Red Sox have been finding ways to win late with a pair of walk off hits by Jacoby Ellsbury.
The Red Sox trio of Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia and Adrian Gonzalez are all considered as American League MVP candidates. Add Kevink Youkilis, David Ortiz and Carl Crawford to the mix and you have a line up that has hit .280 on the year and has hit 135 home runs.
To counter the Sox line up, the Yankees have Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira who are second and third in the majors for home runs hit this season. Derek Jeter’s bat has caught fire recently and Robinson Cano has pushed his average over the .300 mark. With Nick Swisher, Brett Gardner and a deep bench, gives the Yankees a balanced order to match Boston swing for swing.
For the weekend series that starts tonight (Friday August 5th) the pitching matchups look like this: Bartolo Colon vs. Jon Lester (11-4 3.17 ERA) on Friday night, C.C. Sabathia vs. John Lackey (9-8 6.23 ERA) on Saturday afternoon and Freddy Garcia vs. Josh Beckett (9-4 2.20 ERA) on Sunday night.
Lester and Beckett will be tough matchups for the Yankees to face, as they are both have fantastic seasons and pitch even better in Fenway. Lackey has been hit and hit hard recently so the Bombers should be able to get to him pretty solidly.
The trio of Colon, Sabathia and Garcia are a combined 0-7 this season against the Red Sox. Sabathia has been great of late and should be able to pick up the win on Saturday.
While the rivalry is still intense and will set the tone for the rest of the season for the AL East division crown (check out Andrew Rotondi’s “Behind Enemy Lines: Yankees at Fenway Park” for a deeper look into the rivalry), both teams are up eight games in the Wild Card race so the luster of the playoffs is a bit diminished in this series.
Look for the Yankees to stay hot and take two of three from the Bo Sox in Fenway taking the first two games on Friday and Saturday to push their win streak to nine before losing to Beckett on Sunday night.