Only six games left in the regular season with the American League East title wrapped up and snuggled in the Yankees clubhouse, the Red Sox come into town to close out the home schedule for the regular season.
The Yankees don’t have anything to play for, except to try to wrap up the American League’s best record (five games ahead of Detroit for that claim). The Red Sox come in with a slim two game lead in the Wild Card race over the Tampa Bay Rays. With the Boston pitching staff struggling in September (5-16 in the month) they will hand the ball to Jon Lester (15-8, 3.15 ERA) on Friday night to get things started in the Bronx. Following in Saturday and Sunday’s games are Tim Wakefield (7-7, 5.08 ERA) and John Lackey (12-12, 6.49 ERA).
In September, Lester is 1-2 with a 3.52 ERA, including giving up four runs in his last two starts (both against Tampa). He is the most reliable starter for Boston, and even he has been shaky for the team down the stretch. Wakefield has been in and out of the bullpen all season depending on where the team needs him. He hasn’t been impressive this season. Lackey hasn’t lived up to his contract since joining the team has struggled all season trying to regain his control and dominance he had when he was in Los Angeles. This is the set rotation heading into the series for the Red Sox, but weather could play a big role this weekend. If rain postpones some games, then the Sox might be able to manage their rotation a bit better.
The Yankees have just the AL’s top record to clinch left, but other than that have nothing to play for the rest of the way. Even with that being said, New York would love to eliminate the Red Sox from playoff contention. Slated to go in the three games are Freddy Garcia, AJ Burnett and Ivan Nova. Reports are the CC Sabathia will not pitch the rest of the regular season and will get the ball in Game 1 of the ALDS. Garcia and Burnett are both trying to make a last ditch effort to be included in the playoff rotation. Garcia couldn’t get past the fifth inning in his last start and Burnett has just been a complete mess this year. Nova on the other-hand has done everything he could to sow up the number two starter for the post season.
Expect the Yankees to be rotating players through their lineup to get their young players ready for the playoffs, so a lot of Jesus Montero, Austin Romine, Greg Golson and a handful of other younger players to take the field. Allowing these players to get more experience will only help the Yankees bench depth for the playoffs. Young pitchers Andrew Brackman and Dellin Betances will get their chance to show the team and fans what they are capable of as well.
This series might not have all the stardom that it normally does, because of the Yankees position in the playoffs, but the rivalry makes it a must-watch, especially with the Red Sox clinging to their playoff lives.
Weather will definitely play a roll in this series so make sure to grab some food, drinks and your patience as their will no doubt be a number of long rain delays. Watch with joy as the Yanks steal two of three with their reserves and push the Sox to the brink of elimination.
NYYUniverse.com Staff Writer
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