Category: John Lackey

Yankees took care of business against Lackey, try to defeat the imposing Beckett who they traditionally hit well against

CC Sebathia finally had a quality start against the Boston Red Sox, helping the Yankees win 5-2, improving their season record to 3-10 against Boston.  He had help from the bullpen as they got into some jams but never surrendered a run.

Another positive about this game was that Mariano Rivera, who has struggled against the Red Sox in the past, allowing a run in his last appearance against them, picked a save while allowing one hit.

Eric Chavez had his best game production wise since the beginning of August as he had two run scoring singles, in the first and fourth innings, respectively, almost single handedly giving the Yankees all the offense they would need.

In addition to Chavez’s RBI in the top of the fourth, Robinson Cano, hit his 36th double, which drove in Robinson Cano.  That was Cano’s 96th RBI, which places him third on the Yankees and fourth in the American League.

The Red Sox would score their only runs of the game in the bottom of the fourth innings as the speedy Carl Crawford, hit his 10th homer of the season, and Marco Scutaro hit a double to left scoring a run.

In the bottom of the fourth CC Sebathia had a clutch strikeout to end the inning and the Yankees would go on to score another run, off a rare homer by Francisco Cervelli, in the bottom of the inning.  Cervelli’s actions upon returning to home plate were regrettably as he should have waited until he got back to the dugout to celebrate.

However, this was only Cervelli’s third home run of his career, so possibly the reason he displayed his usual enthusiasm was because he got caught up in the moment.

Crawford made an impressive catch up against the Green Monster, on a ball hit by Robinson Cano, for the first out of the inning.

In the bottom of the fifth Sebathia gave up a double to Jed Lowrie and the Yankees were lucky a run didn’t score because David Ortiz is extremely slow.  He would strike out Saltalamacchia, who likely has the longest last name in baseball, to avoid any damage.

In the bottom of the sixth, with Sebathia still pitching, with 110 plus pitches, Chevez was able to show his gold glove form from earlier in his career by fielding a short hop and making a strong throw to Mark Teixiera at first. Sebathia was in true workhorse form tonight as he threw 128 pitches through six innings only allowing two runs.  This proves how much confidence Joe Girardi rightfully has in him.

Francisco Cervelli got intentionally thrown at to lead off the top of the seventh.  In some ways he had this coming as he clapped emphatically when stepping on home plate after his home run.  A pitcher should never intentionally throw at a hitter, but what Cervelli did is against the “code” of baseball.

The Red Sox almost regretted hitting Cervelli because he wound up on third with nobody out after Gardner bunted for a single.  This almost ignited a brawl, however, the benches emptied but nothing materialized.  Unfortunately, Jeter would go on to hit a double play right to Dustin Pedroia at shortstop to end any kind of momentum.  That scored a run but they should have had much more.

The Yankees got lucky a second time with David Oritiz running as he stopped at third on Crawford’s single to left field.  Logan would then strike out Saltalamacchia, which would be Jared’s second strikeout with men on base.  Logan would go on to pick up back-to-back strikeouts as Darnell Macdonald would swing at a pitch high and outside, to end the seventh inning.

Nick Swisher continued his recent hot hitting, which mirrors how he raked during his All-star campaign last season, as he hit a single in the eighth just inside the foul line to send Cano to third.  This culminated a 3-3 game for him. After Posada walked to force the bases loaded, Cervelli could not continue to give the Yankees any more magic as he grounded out to Pedroia to keep the score 5-2.

In order to catch the towering fly ball hit by Marco Scutaro, in the bottom of the eighth, Brett Gardner had to use all of his blazing speed to catch up with the ball.  It was almost a SportsCenter top 10 worthy catch.

The Red Sox would threaten to score in the ninth, as Ortiz smacked a double to shallow right and Saltalamacchia got hit by a pitch, but as stated above, Rivera was able to limit their scoring opportunity.

John Lackey gave up four earned runs, but five overall, during the game.  The Yankees should have scored more but that was the minimum amount that would have been acceptable against Lackey what has been struggling the whole season.

However, tonight the Yankees will not have the privilege of facing a pitcher who is not living up to his contract.  Josh Beckett has an 11-5 record, a 2.43 ERA and is a CY Young candidate just like Sebathia (and the likely winner Justin Verlander).  If Sebathia had not struggled so much in his first four starts against the Red Sox he would probably be even with Verlander right now.

Phil Hughes has pitched very well in five out of his seven starts since coming off of the disabled list, so, if he can deliver a quality start the Yankees will have a great chance since Beckett has a 5.37 career record against the Bronx Bombers.

Derek Jeter is 0-9 in his last two games, while missing the last game of the Orioles series because of a minor injury, but hopefully he can get back on track tonight against Beckett, who he is hitting .282 against for his career.

One of the Yankees top prospects, catcher Jesus Montero, will join the Yankees from AAA Scranton for the series finale.  He is more known for his offense than his defense behind the plate.

Preview of the series against Boston, Yankees need to win the first game

The Yankees play the first of three games against the Red Sox in Boston tonight.  It will be crucial that the Yankees improve upon their dreadful 2-10 record against their rivals to the north, especially since they trail them by 1.5 games in the standings.

Boston comes into this series having won four out in their past two series against the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics.

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez were out of the lineup last night with minor injuries, but tonight against the Red Sox only Jeter will make his return.  Somewhat surprisingly, with Jeter and Rodriguez out of the lineup, the Yankees are 7-0 this season.  When Rodriguez is out of the lineup and Jeter is playing, a bigger sample size because of AROD’s surgery, the team has a 24-17 record.

This proves how deep their lineup is and that their role players are able to step up like Nick Swisher, who has been on a home run binge recently with six out of his last eight hits being sent out of the park.

In order for the Yankees to continue their modest two-game winning streak, CC Sebathia, will have to pitch like he has against everybody else in the contest tonight.  He has not performed anything like the CY Young candidate that he is against the Red Sox this season.

Sebathia has 199 strikeouts and a 2.99 ERA on the season, but in his last start against the Red Sox he gave up seven runs in six innings.  In his four starts against the Yankees’ bitter rivals during this campaign he has a 7.20 ERA, having allowed 33 hits in 25 innings.  This will need to improve as he is the ace and will be relied upon to defeat the Red Sox in the playoffs as well.

John Lackey will be taking the hill for the Red Sox as his execution has been severely lacking this season compared to when he pitched for the Angels.  Lackey has a 12-9 record, which is not that bad, but he sports an ERA of 5.98.  The Yankees bats should be happy to see that number coming into the game.

Two more factors going against Lackey in this game are that in his career versus the Bronx Bombers, 21 starts, he has a 4.67 ERA, and he pitches worse at home (6.16 ERA) than he does on the road (5.75 ERA) even though neither are numbers to write home about.

On Wednesday, Phil Hughes (4-4, 6.46 ERA) will pitch for the Yankees while Red Sox ace Josh Beckett (11-5, 2.43 ERA) will take the hill.  Hughes’ numbers are not nearly as underwhelming since coming off the disabled list as he has allowed two runs or less in five of his seven starts.  However, in those other two games he allowed an alarming 13 runs combined.  If Hughes can allow three runs the Yankees will be competitive against Beckett.

In the series finale, on Thursday, the enigma that is A.J. Burnett (9-11, 5.31 ERA) will take on Boston’s second best pitcher, left Jon Lester (14-6, 3.09 ERA).  Burnett has allowed an alarming 16 runs in his last two starts and deserves to be demoted.  We will have to see as a decision should be coming soon.

It will be crucial that the three starters for the Yankees slow down Adrian Gonzalez (.345 and 103 RBI) and Jacoby Ellsbury (23 homers, 95 runs and 35 steals) who are both having unbelievable seasons.

MVP candidate Curtis Granderson is not hitting well this season against the Red Sox but he does have a solid .318 average against Lackey, for his career.  Cano is hitting .289 during his career against Lackey but is also struggling against the Red Sox this season.  Brett Gardner continues the same pattern as Cano and Granderson.

They Yankees need to at least win this game since most of the team has impressive numbers against Lackey.  Hopefully they can steal one of the others against Beckett or Lester.  They will also need future Hall of Famer, Mariano Rivera, to not blow a save during this series like he has had somewhat of a propensity of doing in the past.

>Yankees look to correct their mistakes to defeat the rival Red Sox

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The Yankees come off a very disappointing series against the Royals where they lost two of three.  The Red Sox got swept during their two game set against the Blue Jays in Toronto.  Starting Friday night, at 7:05, they will play three games in the Bronx and the Yankees hope they can keep Boston in last place.  Boston is 6-11 on the road so far, but after getting of to a 2-10 start they have rebounded to win 15 of their next 25 games.   
So far this season, the Yankees have had three games against the Red Sox, losing two out of three in the beginning of April. John Lackey recorded one of the wins for the Red Sox in that series but unfortunately the Yankees offense will not have the privilege of facing him this weekend.  Lackey, who the Yankees scored six runs off of in that loss, has only recorded three quality starts out of seven and has a dreadful 8.01 ERA.  In this series the Yankees will face the Red Sox three best pitchers.  
In tonight’s game the resurgent Bartolo Colon, who is coming of his worst start of the season against the Rangers, will face Clay Bucholz.  Bucholz has dominating stuff but is off to a somewhat weak start based off his 4.19 ERA.  He is coming off two solid starts but has struggled throughout his career against the Yankees allowing 22 runs in 31 and two-thirds innings.  During the Saturday game, on FOX, the aces will square off as CC Sebathia (3-2, 2.89) and Josh Beckett (2-1, 1.99) will take the hill.  ESPN will have the game on Sunday, as Freddy Garcia (2-2, 2.61, 1.31 WHIP) will match-up against Jon Lester (4-1, 2.96, 1.22 WHIP).  The battle tested Garcia is coming off a start where he only allowed one run and continued to show signs of the pitcher he used to be whereas Lester struggled in his last start against the Blue Jays. 
A major issue that needs to be corrected is that they have 12 errors in their last seven games, and on the season they are 11th out of 14 teams in team defense.  The major culprit has been Eduardo Nunez who has five errors in only 10 games played.  Defensively they well have to play fundamental baseball while throwing to the right base if they want to win this series.  The Yankees have six players with at least two errors so far. 
In addition, the Yankees could really use their bats to wake up with the increased temperature.  Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira have all recently been struggling at the plate.  Posada, whose best years are behind him, has at least contributed six home runs so far, but has a dreadful average of .162 and in his last seven games only has three hits.  Rodriguez and Teixeira have been more productive but they need to go back to forming the lethal three-four combination that they were last season. 
Swisher, one of the players looking for a turn-around was interviewed today on 1050 ESPN Radio and is optimistic.  He said that “I feel strong and confident and I will turn it around soon.  We have K Long right in our corner, the hitting guru in all of our eyes.  We feel great right now, confident in our abilities and we hope everybody else does too.” 
Swisher (.218 so far) proved that he can succeed as a Yankee because he is coming off an All-Star season in 2010, so hopefully his hard work with Kevin Long will pay-off.  If he can come up with a clutch hit late in the game, or even a game winner in the bottom of the ninth and get another pie thrown at him from A.J. Burnett, that will really help his psyche going forward. 
Along with the continued success if the Yankees pitching staff, the offense needs to come through with greater regularity with runners in scoring position in order to win the series.  The number of ground balls and double plays by the Yankees offense to this point has been unacceptable and hopefully this changes this weekend.       
If the Yankees can win two out of three, with the first two being the most likely, this series can be considered a success.  Winning two out of three would equal a split of the six game home-stand, which would be somewhat of a disappointment.  Winning four out of five would have been expected but the Yankees underperformed against the Royals.  Hopefully they can correct their shortcomings against the rival Red Sox.
(Unfortunately I could not upload my post from yesterday because the site was down until early this afternoon.)