Red Sox, Yankees Meet in Possible ALCS Preview

Red Sox, Yankees Meet in Possible ALCS Preview The Red Sox and Yankees meet for one final time in the Bronx this season with a strong possibility that they could reunite in the postseason.

After getting off to an 8-0 start against the Yankees, the Red Sox have dropped six of their last seven to the Bronx Bombers. This series is the last chance for each team to make a statement to the other.

Jon Lester and Joba Chamberlain will square off in the series opener on Friday in a battle of young guns.

When and Where

7:05 p.m. p.m. ET (NESN), Sept. 25, 2009
Yankee Stadium, New York, NY, 

Records

Red Sox (91-61, 2nd  place in AL East)
Yankees (97-56, 1st place in AL East)

Head to Head

After Thursday’s win gave them a split of their four-game series in Kansas City, the Sox head to New York for their final showdown with the first-place Yankees. The Red Sox are 9-6 against the Yankees this season. It is also the Sox’ final road series of the season. They have a 39-39 (.500) road record and have won 11 of their last 17 road games. But they are 12-14 in their last 26 road games and 16-19 on the road since the All-Star break.

Skinny

The Sox lead the season series, 9-6, against the Yankees. Although the Sox swept the Yankees, 8-0, in the first half of the season, they are just 1-6 against New York in the second half.  The Sox are 2-4 in Yankee Stadium this season.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Derek Jeter, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Johnny Damon, LF
Victor Martinez, 1B Mark Teixeira, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, 3B Alex Rodriguez, 3B
David Ortiz, DH Hideki Matsui, DH
Jason Bay, LF Jorge Posada, C
J.D. Drew, RF Robinson Cano, 2B
Jason Varitek, C Nick Swisher, RF
Alex Gonzalez, SS Melky Cabrera, CF

Starting Pitchers

LHP Jon Lester (14-7, 3.33 ERA) vs. RHP Joba Chamberlain (8-6, 4.73 ERA)

In his last start, Sept. 19 in Baltimore, Lester won his fourth straight decision, giving up three runs on 10 hits and four walks, without allowing a walk, in six innings. He has been the Sox most consistent starters this season, posting a staff-high 22 quality starts in 30 outings. He has also been one of the AL’s most consistent starters, giving up more than three runs just once in his last 20 starts, going 11-2 in that span.

In seven career starts against the Yankees, he is 3-0 with a 3.11 ERA (16 earned runs in 46 1/3 innings). In New York he is 1-0 with a 1.52 ERA (four earned runs, 14 innings) in two starts. In three starts against the Yankees this season, he is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA (six earned runs, 20 innings). Since the start of 2008 he has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six innings in each of his six starts against the Yankees.

Chamberlain is making his 30th start of the season. He is winless in his last eight starts since Aug. 11, going 0-4 with an ERA of 8.42 (29 earned runs, 31 innings). In his last start, Sept. 20 in Seattle, he matched his career high, allowing seven earned runs, taking the loss, going three innings, giving up six hits and three walks, with two strikeouts.

It is his 10th career appearance and sixth career start (fourth this season) against the Sox.  In his last start against the Sox, Aug. 6 at Yankee Stadium, he earned the win, despite giving up a career high seven walks. He allowed four earned runs on six hits, with five strikeouts, in five innings. It was the most walks allowed by a Yankee pitcher who also recorded a win since David Cone walked seven in a 12-3 win over the Tigers on April 9, 1999.  

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Sox have won 12 of 15, 18 of 26, and 25 of their last 35 games since Aug. 18. They have the best record in the majors since Aug. 10 at 29-13.

In Thursday’s win over the Royals, Terry Francona recorded his 561st win as Red Sox manager, moving him into sole possession of second place on the all-time Sox manager’s list. Joe Cronin (1935-1947) is first with 1,071 wins.

The Sox have scored at least six runs in an inning 14 times this season, the highest total for any tam in the majors this season

Sox batters lead the majors with 225 runs scored and 53 home runs since Aug. 18, and are second in that time with a .292 average, trailing only the Yankees’ .304.

Jon Lester leads the Sox with 22 quality starts in 30 outings.

With a first-inning single Thursday, Victor Martinez extended his hitting streak to 23 games since Aug. 28. It is the longest active streak in the majors.

Dustin Pedroia extended his hitting streak to 16 games on Thursday. It is his longest hitting streak since a career-high 17-gamer from June 22-July 9, 2008, and the second longest active streak in baseball to Martinez’s.

Yankees
The Yankees have lost three of their last six games and six of their last 12. But have won nine of their last 15 and 18 of 27. They are a major league-best 46-19 since the All-Star break.

The Yankees were the majors’ first team to win 90 games this season, the third time in the last 45 years they have been baseball’s first team to 90 wins in a season.

The Yankees lead the majors with 867 runs scored.

The Yankees lead the majors with a .285 team average.

The Yankees are tied with the Red Sox for the most wins at home, with 52.

Mark Teixeira leads the AL with 118 RBI.

CC Sabathia leads the AL with 18 wins.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Right-hander Junichi Tazawa was placed on the 60-day DL Monday with a mild left groin strain.

Tim Wakefield has been dealing with an ailing back and is expected to make his next start Tuesday

Yankees
Outfielder Xavier Nady has been on the DL since April 15 with an ulnar collateral ligament injury in his right elbow.

Right-hander Chien-Ming Wang has been on the DL since July 5 with a right shoulder strain.

Jerry Hairston is day to day with a wrist injury.

This Date In Red Sox History

In 1999, Wade Boggs extended his own modern major league record when he collected his 200th hit for the seventh consecutive season., going 4-for-5 as the Sox beat the Yankees, 7-4.

Overheard

"We're just trying to cover a lot of unknowns. We're just trying to cover everything."
– Red Sox manager Terry Francona, on postseason options for the starting rotation

Press Box

Red Sox
The Sox earned a series spilt with the Royals.

Who will be the Sox’ Game 1 starter in the playoffs?

J.D. Drew got a day off.

Yankees
It’s time for the Yankees to start thinking about October.

Is Sabathia New York’s most indispensable player?

The Yankees took two of three from the Angels.

MLB
Albert Pujols
is making his mark on history.

Which teams are in the best post-season position with starting pitching?

Some contenders have closer issues.

Outlook

The Sox will look to Jon Lester to continue his string of dominance. Many people are looking to this series as a possible ALCS preview. A strong showing tonight will help the Sox in their final road trip of the season and in their confidence against the Yankees, who have dominated the Sox in the second half.

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