Red Sox Desperate to Recover From New York Marathon

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Red Sox Desperate to Recover From New York Marathon The Red Sox lost in agonizing fashion on Friday night, falling in the 15th inning when Alex Rodriguez broke a seemingly never-ending scoreless tie with a two-run homer off of Sox rookie Junichi Tazawa.

It was a painful way to lose, especially considering that it elevated the Yankees — winners of five straight games — to a 4 1/2-game lead over the Red Sox, losers of four straight. The Red Sox need a win if they're going to stay afloat in the AL East race. At the moment, they appear to be drowning.

When and Where

1:35 p.m. ET, August 8, 2009
Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.

Records

Red Sox (62-46, 2nd place in AL East)
Yankees (67-42, 1st place in AL East)

Skinny

The Sox just couldn't buy a run on Friday night against this Yankees ball club. The rotation — led by Saturday's starter C.C. Sabathia and Friday's starter A.J. Burnett — is going strong, and the bullpen is starting to come around, demonstrating its depth. When you couple that with a lineup that slugs from top to bottom, it spells trouble for these Red Sox. The Yankees look like the team to beat in all of baseball.

Starting Lineups

Red Sox
Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Derek Jeter, SS
Dustin Pedroia, 2B Johnny Damon, LF
Victor Martinez, C Mark Teixeira, 1B
Kevin Youkilis, LF Alex Rodriguez, 3B
David Ortiz, DH Hideki Matsui, DH
Mike Lowell, 3B Robinson Cano, 2B
J.D. Drew, RF Nick Swisher, RF
Casey Kotchman, 1B Melky Cabrera, CF
Nick Green, SS Jose Molina, C


Pitching Matchup

RHP Clay Buchholz (1-1, 6.05 ERA) vs. LHP CC Sabathia (11-7, 3.95 ERA)

Everything was going smoothly for the young Buchholz this season until his last time out. The 24-year-old was shelled in Baltimore last Sunday, allowing seven runs on nine hits and getting knocked out after four innings. Two Orioles took him deep.

Buchholz is throwing strikes, but it's still not translating into success for him. He needs more strikeouts and fewer walks if he's going to be an effective major league pitcher. The Sox remain optimistic that Buchholz will figure things out, but he's got to do it fast if he wants to be an impact arm for the Sox in September and October. Boston pitchers are dropping like flies, and the team needs more than ever for Buchholz to be going strong.

After a shaky start to 2009, Sabathia has adjusted to life in the Bronx and has reemerged as one of the premier workhorses in the game. With a stellar May and June, Sabathia has proven himself as the ace that will lead the Yankees down the stretch and into October.

Stat Sheet

Red Sox
The Red Sox are 27-29 on the road this season.

They have hit 236 doubles this season, second in the American League.

Clay Buchholz has a 7.45 career ERA and a 1.66 WHIP in two starts against the Yankees.

Kevin Youkilis is second in the AL with a .423 on-base percentage.

Dustin Pedroia has scored 80 runs, third in the AL.

Jacoby Ellsbury is a .317 career hitter against the Yankees.

Victor Martinez has five RBIs in his first six games with the Red Sox.

J.D. Drew has a career slugging percentage of just .338 against the Yankees. He has homered three times in 139 at-bats.

Nick Green has a .580 OPS on the road this season.

David Ortiz is a career .278 hitter against Sabathia. He has one home run in 18 at-bats.

Jason Varitek is 1-for-10 in his career against Sabathia.

Yankees
The Yankees have hit 163 home runs this season, most in the major leagues.

CC Sabathia is 2-5 in his career against the Red Sox. He has a 4.07 ERA in 55.1 innings.

Derek Jeter is batting .316, eighth-best in the American League.

Johnny Damon is fourth in the AL with 78 runs scored.

Mark Teixeira
has a .994 career OPS in August.

Alex Rodriguez has 39 home runs and 109 RBIs in his career against Boston.

Robinson Cano is 0-for-5 in his career against Buchholz.

Melky Cabrera is also 0-for-5 against him.

Black and Blue

Red Sox
Tim Wakefield, who has been out since the All-Star break with a lower back strain, is tentatively scheduled to throw a side session before Wednesday's game against Detroit.

Daisuke Matsuzaka, who has battled a shoulder injury since the middle of June, also expects to throw his first side session by the middle of next week.

Jason Bay is day-to-day with a strained right hamstring.

Yankees
Xavier Nady
is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

Chien-Ming Wang returned from a shoulder injury to pitch for the Yankees in May and June, but he has since been shut down. He is out for the season.

Brett Gardner was placed on the 15-day DL on July 26 with a fractured left thumb.

This Date in Red Sox History

In 1931, the Red Sox end up on the wrong end of a no-hitter. Bobby Burke, a 24-year-old lefty for the Washington Senators, blanks the Red Sox 5-0 for the 102nd no-hitter in baseball history and first of his career.

Overheard

"I think it was an important thing to do. He met with Smoltzie face-to-face, told him what we were going to do, told him to go home and take a deep breath."
–Manager Terry Francona, in the Boston Globe, on Theo Epstein's meeting with John Smoltz. The Red Sox designated the future Hall of Famer for assignment on Friday.

Press Box

Red Sox
Josh Beckett couldn't get the win on Friday night.

The Red Sox part with John Smoltz.

The state of the Nation, straight from Theo's mouth.

Yankees
A-Rod walked off with the win.

CC Sabathia will be put to the test.

The Yankees welcome Chad Gaudin.

MLB
So long, Jason Giambi.

The Twins picked up Carl Pavano.

The future is in doubt for Jason Schmidt.

Outlook

More than ever before, the Red Sox are in desperate need of a win. They're fading fast in the AL East race, and they'll lose their grip on the wild card if this losing skid goes any further. Their dominance of the Yankees from earlier this season is gone, and reality has set in: This Yankees team is good — very good — and it can't be taken lightly. If they want to have a chance, the Sox will need a big start from Clay Buchholz and they'll need the bats to wake up.

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