When the schedule makers had the Red Sox and Yankees playing three games in New York on the last full weekend of September and three in Boston on the first weekend of October, they likely envisioned six meetings dripping with drama.
With 7 1/2 games separating the two rivals and the Sox likely on the outs in the 2010 playoffs, these meetings will take on a different tone.
The first of the six head-to-heads takes place Friday night in Yankee Stadium, where Josh Beckett and Andy Pettitte will be on the mound.
Boston is coming off a disappointing 2-4 homestand while New York just split a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yanks own a half-game lead in the American League East.
Red Sox (84-68) at Yankees (92-61)
Friday, Sept. 24, 7:05 p.m. NESN
Yankee Stadium, Bronx
The Yankees have won 16 of the last 22 meetings.
RHP Josh Beckett (5-5, 5.71 ERA) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (11-2, 2.81 ERA)
Both Beckett and Pettitte have made 19 starts this season, but only Pettitte has found consistent success. Beckett, on the other hand, has only recently managed to get into a bit of a groove.
The Red Sox' right-hander is 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA over a span of five straight quality starts. He has struck out 32 while walking 11 in 32 2/3 innings.
However, Yankee Stadium has been a house of horrors for Beckett. He has made two starts there this year, lasting just 4 2/3 innings in both of them while giving up a total of 12 runs (10 earned).
Overall, Beckett is 1-1 with a 5.24 ERA and a 1.70 WHIP in four career starts at the new stadium. He had a 5.66 ERA at the old place and is 0-3 with a 10.54 ERA in his last five starts vs. New York.
Pettitte returned from a lengthy stint on the disabled list with a strained groin to throw six solid innings at Baltimore five days ago. He allowed a run in six innings at Boston on April 7 in his only meeting this year in the rivalry.
The veteran lefty is 18-9 with a 3.68 ERA lifetime vs. the Sox.
|Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Lance Berkman dh
Jorge Posada, C
Curtis Granderson, CF
Brett Gardner, LF
The Sox looked listless at times during the homestand. Perhaps the sight of pinstripes can inspire them to take it up another level and finish the season strong.