The Yankees begin the three-game series against the Red Sox in Boston trailing their rivals by 8.5 games in the American League East. The Yankees have won five of their last seven games coming into the series and they currently have their best lineup of the season. They need Alfonso Soriano to continue driving in runs and hitting at a consistent rate (he can’t be expected to drive in six or seven games a game like he did earlier this week), and the combination of Soriano, Curtis Granderson (who is hitting .529 in his last five games), Robinson Cano and Alex Rodriguez form a formidable middle of the order.
The Red Sox come into this series having lost six out of their last 10 games. In that 10-game span half of their wins have come over the Houston Astros, who have the worst record in baseball. Boston has lost three of its last four games and has only scored 11 runs in those games. In comparison, the Yankees have scored 29 runs in their last four games (albeit against inferior competition to the Red Sox). The Yankees appear to be playing the Red Sox at the right time.
After their 8-4 loss last night to the Angels, the Yankees are currently six games behind the Oakland Athletics for the second Wild-Card spot. They are at the point where they need to put together a sustained winning streak to have a chance of passing the four teams that are currently ahead of them. Andy Pettitte, who always seemed to get the Yankees a win following a loss in previous seasons, needs to come through with a vintage Pettitte start. In his last start, he only allowed one run, but he did surrender eight hits and three walks in only 4.1 innings. However, Pettitte does have a 4.19 ERA in away games this season as opposed to a 5.14 ERA at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees need to win at least two out of the three games. Mark Reynolds has been added to the 25-man roster in order to give the team another power bat. Lyle Overbay, who has been better than expected offensively, will now likely split time with Reynolds at first base (Reynolds will play against lefties). The Yankees need to hope that a change of scenery will help Reynolds since he was only hitting .215 before being released by the Indians. However, he has always been a slugger that has been more known for his power than his average.
Preston Claiborne has been sent down to Scranton to make room for Reynolds. Granderson will get the night off.
Here are the pitching match-ups for the series at Fenway.
Tonight, 7:10 p.m., on MY9
Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62 ERA) vs. LHP Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66 ERA)
Saturday, 4:05 p.m., on FOX
Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33 ERA) vs. RHP John Lackey (7-10, 3.32 ERA)
Sunday, 8:05 p.m., ESPN
CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66 ERA) vs. RHP Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50 ERA)