The Yankees will play an important three-game series in Boston to kick-off the post All-Star break portion of the schedule.
Every series against Boston is important, but if they can win two out of three games they can think more legitimately about getting one of the two Wild-Cards. Their offensive will obviously be bolstered by the return of Derek Jeter (he can come off the DL in a week), Alex Rodriguez on Monday, and eventually Curtis Granderson.
So far this season, the Yankees have scored 125 fewer runs than the Red Sox. The Red Sox have scored 498 runs and the Yankees have scored 373 runs. This makes it even more important for their injured players to return.
It is likely that A-Rod will receive a 50 or 100 game suspension by MLB in the coming days, which he deserves, but the players union will then probably file an appeal which could mean that it would take until next season for the suspension to go through. A-Rod has lost a lot of fans by reportedly taking PEDs for a second time, but since his suspension might take months to go through, he will obviously be an upgrade at third base.
A-Rod hit his second homer of the week and second of his 12-game rehab stint in a game yesterday with the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He has a .222 average in his stint in the minors. This one, just like his homer on Monday for Trenton, was a two-run blast. His goal for the games over the weekend is to: “Go first to third and finish with a “hard slide,” and perhaps make a diving stop of a ground ball to his left,” as reported in Newsday.
However, it is important that Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39 ERA) pitches like he did in April and not how he has in his starts since then. In his first four starts, Pettitte only gave up seven earned runs in 28.1 innings. He has allowed four or more runs in a start five times since then. However, he does have a 3.64 ERA after the All-Star Game, and a 4.06 ERA before it for his career, so history says he could be able to bounce back.
In Pettitte’s first start of the season, against the Red Sox, the threw eight solid innings while limiting the Red Sox to only one run.
Here are the pitching matchups for the series in Boston. The Yankees are currently six games behing Boston for first place and three games behind the Texas Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays for the Wild-Card.
Tonight at 7:10 p.m. on the YES Network
Andy Pettitte vs LHP Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91 ERA)
Saturday at 4:05 p.m. on FOX
Hiroki Kuroda (8-6, 2.65 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-6, 2.78 ERA)
Sunday at 8:05 p.m. on ESPN
CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07 ERA) vs. Jon Lester (8-6 4.58 ERA)
The one positive of this series is the Yankees will not have to face Clay Bucholz, who has nine wins and a 1.71 ERA. He is currently out with soreness in his right shoulder.
Brent Lillibridge (he was called up from AAA as a result of Jeter being put on the DL), who was acquired by the Yankees from the Cubs on June 21 and had been playing for the RailRiders, will make his debut for the Yankees at third base tonight. Eduardo Nunez and Lillibridge will be the 17th different shortstop and third base combo so far this season.