After 110 games played in this 2011 MLB season, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are all tied up at 62-48. Both teams are on pace to win 100 games this year and they have best record in the American League by far. The team with the next best record, the Texas Rangers is 62-50. Tied for the division lead in mid August, this matchup thought by many to be the “best rivalry in all of sports” turns up the heat as Friday night as the Yankees bring their 7-game winning streak into Fenway Park for another classic showdown in this storied rivalry.
It’s now a 52-game season. New York is still without A-Rod but they aren’t missing his bat. During this 7-game winning streak the Yankees have outscored their opponents 63-19 averaging 9 runs per game and giving up only 2.71. If you are looking for reasons to find out why it’s the Yankees who are number one in our MLB Power Rankings, look no further than their plus 173 run differential on the year.
The Red Sox pitching staff has been devastated by injuries this year and it appears that Boston’s No. 3 starter Clay Buchholz may now be lost for the season with a stress fracture in his back. The Sox traded for Erik Bedard at the MLB Trade Deadline trying to try and fill the void and bolster their staff for the stretch run, but he won’t pitch in this series as he took a no-decision after allowing three runs and seven hits over five innings in his first start for the Red Sox Thursday night.
The Red Sox are 8-1 head to head vs. the Yankees heading into this weekend’s three games so the Yankees are going to need every bit of momentum that they have.
The pitching matchup for the series is as follow:
- Friday night – Bartolo Colon, NYY (8-6, 3.30) vs. Jon Lester, BOS (11-4, 3.17 ERA)
- Saturday afternoon - CC Sabathia, NYY (16-5, 2.55) vs. John Lackey, BOS (9-8, 6.23)
- Sunday night - Freddy Garcia, NYY (10-7, 3.22) vs. Josh Beckett, BOS (9-4, 2.20)
Lester who spent time on the disabled list recently with a lat strain has shown no ill effects in his two starts since returning. He’s is 2-0 against the Yankees this season and holds an 8-1 record against New York with a 3.56 ERA in 14 starts.
Josh Beckett has to be the bounce back player of the year in MLB and in some respects has revived his career. Beckett has had success against the Yankees on the biggest stage, throwing seven innings of one run ball against them in the 2003 World Series for the Florida Marlins followed by a complete game shutout in game seven to put the nail in the coffin. He’s been an integral part of this rivalry for six years now having varying degrees of success.
Bartolo Colon and Freddie Garcia are veteran pitchers who have gotten a second lease on pitching live in NY (although some would argue that Colon had some outside help) and John Lackey, while disappointing since coming to the Red Sox has a reputation of being a big game pitcher.
Both the starters and relievers will have to be on their games this series as the two teams are 1, 2 in MLB in runs scored. The Yankees are averaging 5.473 runs per game on the year and the Red Sox are averaging 5.4.
Perhaps the stars will finally align for the Red Sox and Yankees to face off in the AL Championship Series for the first time since 2004?
P.S. – If you plan to watch the games, clear your schedule. The over / under for the three games series in Las Vegas is 10 hours of baseball. I’d be shocked if we don’t see 11.
Those Fantasy Baseball owners who have displayed the Patience of Jobe holding onto or re-drafting Alex Gordon every year are finally being rewarded. Gordon tied a season-high with four hits Thursday against the Orioles (see video). It was the third time he achieved four hits in a game in 2011. Gordon had his 34th double in the game and scored twice. He is 25 for 62 (.403) with three homers, 10 doubles and seven RBI in his last 14 games. “He’s as close as you can get to dominating right now,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s putting great at-bats together. He’s hitting the ball hard. He’s hitting doubles, home runs. He’s driving in runs. He’s doing everything. He had four great swings tonight and smoked the ball four times.”
On the year Gordon is now hitting .311 with 14 HRs, 58 RBI, 68 RS and 9 SBs
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