One of the greatest rivalries in sports resumes Friday night at Fenway Park where the first place Red Sox square off against the fourth place Yankees. This proves to be a key series for both teams as the Red Sox look to strengthen their division lead while the Yankees try to climb back into the American League East race. As of now if the season were to end today the Red Sox would win the American League East crown and the two wildcards would be the Oakland Athletics and the Tampa Bay Ray. With little over 40 games to go this proves to be a very pivotal stretch as the wildcard race has six teams within six games of a wildcard spot.
The season series this year has gone mostly Boston's way as they are 6-3 over the first nine games played. Over those nine games the Boston Red Sox are 2-1 at home and 4-2 on the road winning each series two games to one. Looking ahead they will play seven more games against one another with a September series in New York for four games and a three game homestand the following week. After struggling the past two series going 2-5 against the Royals and Blue Jays the Red Sox are trying to put a strong series together in front of the home crowd. Following Sunday's game the Red Sox will travel west for a six game road trip against the San Francisco Giants and the National League West Leader the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Series prediction: The Red Sox will earn the series win although it won't be easy with the resurgance of the Yankees. Over the past two weeks they have gotten Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson off of the disabled list. In addition, they traded for Alfonso Soriano who has been on one of his late summer runs of late. The Red Sox will take game one behind a strong performance by Doubront and the offense will have a field day against Pettitte as I see him struggling against the Boston lineup. Game two on Saturday night is the game I worry about for the Red Sox. Kuroda has been having the season of a life-time his overall record of 11-7 doesn't tell the story. In my mind we'll see either a 3-2 game or a 2-1 game but the Yankees will pull out the victory. Finally on Sunday I have been writiing about Ryan Dempster in my last three previews saying he will get back on track. So far that hasn't been the case but Tuesday against the Blue Jays he pitched one of his best games where he went seven innings giving up four hits and one earned run.
Friday: Felix Doubront (8-5, 3.66 ERA) vs. Andy Pettitte (7-9, 4.62 ERA)
Saturday : John Lackey (7-9, 3.32 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-7, 2.33 ERA)
Sunday: Ryan Dempster (6-8, 4.50 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (10-10, 4.66 ERA)
Alfonso Soriano joined history on Wednesday becoming one of three players to have back to back six runs batted in or more games. Over his last three games Soriano is 10 for 14 with four home-runs and 14 runs batted in. Doubront will have to be careful on Friday night as Soriano usually hits lefties with ease.
This will be the first homestand since July 29-August 4th a six game home stand which was against the Arizona Diamonbacks and Seattle Mariners.