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Series Preview: Yankees @ Red Sox

No other rivalry compares to Yankees vs. Red Sox. This weekend it continues and the Bombers will look to bring the same big bats to the plate that they were swinging the last time the two teams faced each other.

Nothing says summer like the classic rivalry baseball action between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. The two clubs have played out totally different story lines for far this year, but after the four-game set between them this weekend, the script might have some slight changes before the All-Star break.

Riddled by injuries all season long, which has especially impacted their highly regarded pitching staff, the Yankees have been forced to overcome adversity in almost every way imaginable. For the most part though, they’ve been able to answer and have worked through it towards a 49-32 record with a 5.5-game lead in the AL East.

On the other side of the story, the Red Sox haven’t been enjoying much success in 2012. With a few changes to the roster along with being under new management, Boston has struggled to find any kind of consistency or team camaraderie. This has left them trailing in the division most of the season and they currently sit at 42-40, 7.5 games behind the Yankees.

No matter how either team has done to this point, this heated rivalry always seems to bring out the best baseball from both sides and the action over the weekend will surely be intense as possible playoff implications are on the line.

The series kicks off at Fenway in Boston tonight, when Hiroki Kuroda and Josh Beckett face off on the mound. Kuroda will get in on the epic bout for the first time as a Yankee and will try to keep current hot streak going. Josh Beckett will also be making his first appearance this year against his familiar foe. Battling a nagging shoulder injury, Beckett is still trying to bounce back and has a big challenge ahead of him.

Saturday features a full card of baseball, with day/night double-header action in Boston. Phil Hughes gets the ball for game one, and goes against Franklin Morales for the Red Sox. Freddy Garcia and Felix Doubront will face off under the lights. Garcia responded well with a decent outing in his last game, starting his first game since April. The Yankees need a repeat out of him this weekend.

On the eve of the All-Star break, the Yankees will start their best active pitcher this season. Besides C.C. Sabathia who currently sits on the DL, Ivan Nova has displayed the most dominance in pinstripes on the mound. Jon Lester gets the start for Boston in the final game of the series.

Both teams have faired pretty well against each others pitching this season, but the Yankees hold a clear advantage in the areas that matter most. The Bombers tallied 21 runs, 21 RBIs, and eight homers compared to the Red Sox 11, runs, 11 RBIs, and two long balls. WIth big bats rolling into Boston this weekend, it could be another dominant series for the Yankees.

Every game matters, especially from here on out. Despite either teams positioning within the competitive division, both have a lot to play for and a lot to prove. The Red Sox can never be counted out and are looking to crawl out of the bottom rankings. This would be the perfect time for them to make a mid-season push if they can. The Yankees aren’t going to just roll over though, they’ve clawed and scrapped their way to the top of the AL East and will have to battle it out again to maintain their supremacy. Winning this series would send a good message to the rest of the competition that they plan to stay in that top spot.