Rivals go at it again

By Jon Lane
Not since 1974 have the Red Sox won six straight
games against the Yankees in one season, when they ran off seven
consecutive victories over their rivals. At that time the rivalry was
simmering before exploding later that decade. Dating back to 2003, this
has been at another level, and another chapter will be written starting
tonight. You can catch the game on My9, and tune into YES for complete
pre and postgame coverage starting with Yankees Batting Practice Today at 6 p.m.

Here’s where the teams stand:

  • The
    Yankees are in the AL East penthouse, one game ahead of the Red Sox,
    and are a much different team than the one that dropped five straight
    to them in the early going. Alex Rodriguez has since returned to the
    lineup and New York has been on a 21-8 run. A-Rod may be batting .248,
    but has eight home runs in 29 at-bats. More important is that his mere
    presence alone has had a major impact Mark Teixeira, who is is batting
    .364 with 13 homers and 36 RBIs hitting ahead of A-Rod in the lineup.
    Teixeira, incidentally, now leads AL first baseman in All-Star voting.

  • Yankees
    starters are 12-2 in their last 24 games while limiting opponents to
    three earned runs or fewer in 18 of 25 starts. Leading the way is CC
    Sabathia, who has pitched at least eight innings in six of his last
    eight starts (4-1, two no-decisions). The burly lefty starts Thursday
    night against Brad Penny.

  • Big start tonight for A.J. Burnett,
    4-2 with a 4.69 ERA and seeking his third straight win after going
    winless since April 14. Burnett leads the Yankees with 65 strikeouts
    and is seeking redemption both team-oriented and personal. His last
    time pitching at Fenway Park, Burnett blew a 6-0 lead on April 25,
    allowing eight runs on eight hits in five innings of a 16-11 loss.

“We owe them a couple,” Burnett said.

  • Bigger
    start for Chien-Ming Wang Wednesday night. Everyone is well aware of
    Wang’s early-season troubles and terrible track record at Fenway (3-3,
    5.11 ERA in seven starts). Wang returned to the rotation last week and
    while he was far from great, it was something to build on
    considering what he’s had to endure. However, you’d think his leash
    will be short. Many are speculating (including me) that Phil Hughes
    will be summoned almost immediately if Wang digs himself a hole.

  • As
    you also know, David Ortiz is in the throes of an awful season. Big
    Papi, who’s made his living killing the Yankees and rivaling Tom Brady
    and Adam Vinatieri as Boston’s greatest clutch performer, is batting
    .197 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 51 games. He visited an eye doctor
    on Monday and his vision checked out well, which has left the Back Bay
    mystified as to what has happened to him. Leave to Red Sox Nation to
    panic. A few callers phoned into WEEI-AM saying he “stinks” and needs
    to be relegated to part-time duty. Good line from Dale & Holley
    though in response to Joe Girardi’s complaint about the Yankees playing
    nine straight games in National League cities: The Red Sox played 50
    games without a DH, the Yankees can play nine.” Ouch.

2 Comments

It would be a mistake to count David Ortiz out just yet. Yes, he is struggling; but he is on a six-game hitting streak and he has the potential to still be a “Yankee killer”.

Julia
http://werbiefitz.mlblogs.com/

Jon, i do hope A.J. can give us real length tonight! I’d love to see us get off on a win in this first game and catch a few brakes with Beckett having a so-so game,
hope he’s due to have one.
Don

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