Yankees Are Perfect Opponent to Fire Up Red Sox for Season’s Final Stretch

Yankees Are Perfect Opponent to Fire Up Red Sox for Season's Final Stretch 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.

WHEN AND WHERE

Red Sox (84-68) at Yankees (92-61)
Friday, Sept. 24, 7:05 p.m. NESN
Yankee Stadium, Bronx

Live Blog

HEAD TO HEAD

The Yankees have won 16 of the last 22 meetings.

PITCHING MATCHUP

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.

LINEUPS

Red Sox Yankees
Marco Scutaro, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF
Victor Martinez, C
Adrian Beltre, 3B
David Ortiz, DH
Mike Lowell, 1B
Jed Lowrie, SS
Bill Hall, LF
Darnell McDonald, CF

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

STAT SHEET

Red Sox

  • Closer Jonathan Papelbon has struck out at least one batter in eight straight games (18 total).
  • Outfielder Josh Reddick has three career home runs, all against Baltimore.
  • Catcher Victor Martinez is batting .424 (14-for-33) on his current eight-game hitting streak.

Yankees

  • After leading the majors with 51 comeback wins in 2009, the Yankees lead all of baseball with 46 this season.
  • Shortstop Derek Jeter has just two errors in his last 83 games at the position dating to June 12.
  • New York is 24-2 in games in which second baseman Robinson Cano homers.

BLACK AND BLUE

Red Sox

  • Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had season-ending surgery Sept. 3 on his broken left foot. He is expected to be fully healed for spring training.
  • Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) will not resume any baseball-related activities until after the season ends.
  • Center fielder Mike Cameron had season-ending surgery to repair an abdominal tear.
  • First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
  • Left-hander Felix Doubront has pain behind his left clavicle. He will not pitch again this season but hopes to throw a bullpen session before the regular season ends.
  • Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.

Yankees

  • Designated hitter Nick Johnson is out for the year with an inflamed right wrist tendon.
  • Right-hander Alfredo Aceves will not return due to a strained lower back.
  • Left-hander Damaso Marte is on the 60-day DL with left shoulder inflammation.

OUTLOOK

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.

Yardbarker

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