Monday, May 08, 2006

Red Sox @ Yakees Preview

I guess since it is my hometown ballpark this time, with me attending the games, the preview becomes my responsibility. One week ago, the first time the Yankees and Red Sox played this season, the two teams were in a virtual tie for first place. They played one game, won by the Red Sox, with the second game getting rained out. The Yankees haven't lost since that game, and the Red Sox have rolled off with four straight wins as well, having the two teams once again in a virtual tie for first as they meet.

This time however, both teams are rolling and have separated themselves from the rest of the AL East. The two teams are on pace to win a combined 200 games this season. Going into this three game set, rain could once again be a factor. The forecast has rain to start at 6:00pm tomorrow evening and more rain on Thursday. This may be an attempt of the Baseball Gods to have more Yankees-Red Sox games at the end of the season since the schedule makers put so many at the beginning.

If rain does not factor in, there will be some great pitching matchups as Johnson, Mussina, Chacon, Schilling, and Beckett have a combined 22-6 record on the young season, and Wakefield is 1-0 in the post Josh Bard-era.

Tuesday: Josh Beckett (3-1, 4.86) vs. Randy Johnson (5-2, 5.02)
Neither pitcher has pitched well of late. Beckett looked dominant at the begginning of the season only to be 0-1 with a 9.56 ERA in his last three starts. However, the Red Sox got him to be a big game pitcher (based off of what they saw him do against the Yankees in the 2003 World Series), and I expect him to pitch better than he has in his last three outings. He'll have to though, as in the 16 innings pitched he struck out 11 and walked 10. With the Yankees patience at the plate and their propensity to let pitchers beat themseleves, Beckett will need to be on his game. On the other side, while Randy Johnson is 3-1 in his last four starts he is also sporting a 7.04 ERA in them. The Yankees have blessed Randy Johnson with an average of over 9 runs per start this season. In the end, either of these pitchers can be great and either can be horrible. However, since coming to the Yankees, Randy Johnson is 14-2 at Yankee Stadium and 5-0 against the Red Sox. It's hard to pick against that. Game 1: New York Yankees

Wednesday: Curt Schilling (5-1, 3.02) vs. Mike Mussina (5-1, 2.35)
This is the game most likely to be a pitcher's duel. Schilling loves these moments, and Mussina looks at his best right now. These are two of the generations best pitchers to have not won a Cy Young Award, neither has given up hope of winning one this season. Mussina is definitely pitching better recently, and that might be what this game comes down to. Mussina let the leadoff batting in the 8th inning get on in his last start, when the bullpen let the runner get around to score, it marked the first time since April 14th that Mussina gave up more than one run in a game. Schilling has given up at least 3 earned runs in each of his last three starts. Mussina continues to roll. Game 2: New York Yankees

Thursday: Tim Wakefield (2-4, 3.97) vs. Shawn Chacon (4-1, 3.94)
This is another good pitching matchup. Wakefield hasn't given up more than three earned runs in a game since his first start of the season. Chacon has given up just one earned run in each of his last three starts. What this game might come down to is that as good as Chacon has been over his last three starts, he's been walking too many people (9 in 19.2 innings). Facing the Red Sox who take more pitches than the other teams, could pose a problem for the Yankee righty. While Chacon may go pitch-for-pitch with Wakefield, his pitch count may get too high, too quickly. Chacon may not make it through the 6th inning. The Yankees do not have anybody who hits a knuckleball particularly well. Game 3: Boston Red Sox


Sully said...

Yeah, I saw the rain in the forecast, too. Not good. Love the pitching match-ups though, and I love that there's no game tonight so I can watch 24 in peace. That should get me sufficiently fired up for the rest of the week...

Sully said...

By the way, you know I'm excited for this game tonight when I'm watching the NESN pre-game show... and they're interviewing Dan Shaugnessy... and he's talking about Barry Bonds... and he's saying that Bonds won't homer off of Rich Hill because Hill went to Milton (MA) high. Good grief...