Red Sox Have Tough Task Ahead Facing Phil Hughes in Bronx

Red Sox Have Tough Task Ahead Facing Phil Hughes in BronxRed Sox Have Tough Task Ahead Facing Phil Hughes in Bronx The weekend did not go as planned for the Red Sox. They face a serious challenge in trying to turn things around with a visit to The Bronx, where they will meet the rival New York Yankees for the third time this year.

After taking the opener of a three-game series in Detroit, the Sox dropped the next two in dismal fashion. They blew a five-run lead and eventually lost in extra innings Saturday before the bats went quiet in Sunday’s 5-1 setback.

The pair of losses drops Boston back to .500 and its 7 1/2-game deficit in the American League East matches a season high.

To make matters worse, the Sox will have to attempt to solve Phil Hughes on Monday. Hughes has been the most dominant starter in the AL thus far. Daisuke Matsuzaka makes his fourth start of the year for Boston.

WHEN AND WHERE

Red Sox (19-19) vs. Yankees (24-13)
Monday, May 17, 7 p.m.
Yankee Stadium, New York

HEAD TO HEAD

The Yankees have won 13 of the last 16 meetings.

PITCHING MATCHUP

RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-1, 6.35 ERA) vs. RHP Phil Hughes (5-0, 1.38 ERA)

Matsuzaka put it all together in his last start after struggling through parts of his first two. In an uncharacteristically clean outing, he struck out nine and did not walk a batter in seven innings of a 6-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

The righty yielded a run on just three hits, relying heavily on an improved fastball that consistently found its spot.

Matsuzaka is 3-3 with a 5.49 ERA against the Yankees. He allowed a run in seven innings in his only previous start at the new Yankee Stadium.

Although it is early, Hughes is an early front-runner for the AL Cy Young Award. He is one of five hurlers with five wins, and leads the junior circuit in ERA, WHIP (0.92) and opponents’ batting average (.165).

LINEUPS

Red Sox Yankees
Marco Scutaro, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Kevin Youkilis, 1B
Victor Martinez, C
David Ortiz, DH
Adrian Beltre, 3B
Jeremy Hermida, LF
Darnell McDonald, CF
Derek Jeter, SS
Brett Gardner, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, DH
Robinson Cano, 2B
Francisco Cervelli, C
Marcus Thames, RF
Randy Winn, LF
Ramiro Pena, 3B

TBA

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Boston has at least one pinch-hit in four straight games and leads the majors with a .417 (10-for-24) average in such situations.
  • Right fielder J.D. Drew had an eight-game hitting streak snapped Sunday. He was 11-for-28 (.393) during the hot stretch.
  • Red Sox starters have thrown at least six innings in seven straight games.

Yankees

  • Sunday’s loss was just the second in 23 games in which the Yankees led after six innings.
  • Entering Sunday, backup catcher Francisco Cervelli led the majors with a .769 (10-for-13) batting average and an .813 on-base percentage with runners in scoring position.
  • Third baseman Alex Rodriguez is 1-for-16 with six strikeouts against Matsuzaka.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Starter Josh Beckett got through his side session Saturday without an issue and will start Tuesday in New York. Beckett, whose start Friday was scratched due to back spasms, threw long tosses when the team arrived in Detroit.
  • Center fielder Mike Cameron has gone 4-for-13 with a home run and four walks in a rehab stint at Triple-A Pawtucket. Cameron, out since April 18 with an abdominal strain, was hoping to return when the team went to New York, but may still be a few days away.
  • Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury, also out since April 18 with fractured ribs, is expected to begin a rehab assignment at Pawtucket on Monday.
  • Righty Boof Bonser allowed two hits in four scoreless innings Wednesday in his fourth rehab start for Pawtucket.

Yankees

  • Right fielder Nick Swisher has been in and out of the starting lineup due to a sore left biceps. He is day-to-day.
  • Center fielder Curtis Granderson is on the disabled list with a strained left groin, and not expected to return until around June 1.
  • Designated hitter Nick Johnson has been on the DL since May 7 with a sore right wrist. There is no timetable for him to return.
  • Righty Alfredo Aceves is on the DL with lower back stiffness.
  • Reliever Chan Ho Park could return to the team this series. He has been out with right hamstring tightness since mid-April.

OUTLOOK

Matsuzaka was as efficient as he has ever been against Toronto the last time out, but the Jays are free swingers. The Yankees are anything but, and their patience always presents a problem for a pitcher like Matsuzaka, who never gives in and is not immune to nibbling.

If the righty can somehow duplicate his effort against Toronto and limit the base runners, he could give the Sox a much-needed boost. Whether or not Boston gets much against Phil Hughes is another story altogether.

Yardbarker

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 190,696 other followers