|Yankees cherish rivalry with Red Sox, playing at Fenway||09.16.13 at 12:53 pm ET|
The Yankees won’t always admit it, but the bad guys from New York relish their trips to Fenway Park.
In the midst of a 162-game, seemingly never-ending season, Fenway Park provides endless intensity from its 37,400 rabid fans.
“What makes it so special?” asked Derek Jeter. “It’s a good atmosphere. It’s fun to play here. We played a lot games here over the years, so it’s something as a player you look forward to because the fans get into it.”
Even Boston’s — and these days, baseball’s — resident villian, Alex Rodriguez, is enamored with the Hub.
“I love competing against the Red Sox,” said Rodriguez. “A lot of people forget that I almost came here. I conceded a lot to come here, but the [players' association] took it down. Fenway is a great stadium. I visited Harvard again last year, too, and took my two daughters. I love Boston, it’s a great town.”
“Just being able to play here at Fenway is amazing,” said Mariano Rivera. “I love it. I’ve been playing here for so many years and I look forward to coming here to play.”
Even players no longer sporting the Yankee pinstripes still recall their favorite Fenway memories.
“It’s the best rivalry in any sport,” said former Yankee and current Indian Jason Giambi. “You feel like you’re in a heavyweight fight every time you play. You’re mentally, physically exhausted after every game. Not only is it important to the team, but it’s important to the fans and media, too. It’s got a lot of hype to it. It’s fun to be part of, and it challenges you as a baseball player. I definitely miss it.”
|Red Sox-Yankees series preview||09.05.13 at 10:34 am ET|
It’ll be a showdown in the Bronx as the Red Sox visit Yankee Stadium for the first time since early June, taking on the Yanks in a four-game set this weekend.
The Red Sox finished off a series victory over the Al Central-leading Tigers in style on Wednesday night, with the team knocking eight home runs by seven different players for a final score of 20-4. With the victory, the Red Sox maintained their 5 1/2-game lead over the Rays in the division and improved to an American League-best 84-57.
The 20 runs scored by the Red Sox stands as the highest total since the team scored 25 back in 2003. The eight home runs tie a franchise record, done just one other time (July 4, 1977, vs. the Blue Jays). The home runs by seven different players set a franchise record. And all of this came against a fellow first-place team, one that the Red Sox could meet again in October.
“One through nine, we have a guy that can hit the ball over the fence,” starting pitcher Ryan Dempster said. “That’s something not a lot of teams have, but at the same time, we’re putting up runs however we can get them.”
Dempster and the Red Sox will meet up with the Yankees for the first time since the incident with Alex Rodriguez that resulted in a five-game suspension for Dempster, although the right-hander will not face the Yanks in this series.
Just when it looks like the Yankees might fall out of the playoff picture, they find a way to string together wins and stay afloat in the division and the wild card chase. While the Yankees sit eight games back of the Red Sox for the AL East lead, they’ve managed to keep themselves in the race for a wild card, currently 2 1/2 games out. The Yankees had a decent month of August, going 16-12, good for their best winning percentage of any month since April.
Getting some of the key members of the lineup back on the field has done wonders for the Yankees. In August, the club put together its best offensive month since April, with the lineup batting a collective .267/.337/.417. The return of players like Derek Jeter and, of course, Rodriguez, plus the acquisitions of Alfonso Soriano and Mark Reynolds have given the Yankees a bit of a spark heading into the stretch.
The series against the Red Sox will be a big one for the Yankees, the kind of series that can all but make or break their chances at a playoff berth. They’ve won five of their last six games but have lost seven of their last 12 contests against the Red Sox. Overall, the Yankees have a winning record against American League East teams, but that mark is skewed by a 13-3 record against the last-place Blue Jays. The Yankees are under .500 against every other AL East club.
“[This series] could do a lot to determine where we’re going to be at,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said after Wednesday’s 6-5 victory over the White Sox. “I think it’s important that we concentrate on one game at a time and not look too far ahead.”
Here are the pitching matchups.
Thursday: Jake Peavy (11-5, 3.91) vs. Ivan Nova (8-4, 2.88)
Friday: Felix Doubront (10-6, 3.89) vs. Andy Pettitte (10-9, 4.01)
Saturday: John Lackey (8-12, 3.22) vs. David Huff (2-0, 1.13)
Sunday: Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99)
WHO’S HOT: RED SOX
• Two nights, two huge hits for Will Middlebrooks. The third baseman provided all the runs the Red Sox would need on Tuesday night, clubbing a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning (credit also due to Stephen Drew, whose ground-rule double made Middlebrooks’ big hit possible). Middlebrooks came through in a big way again in the series finale, breaking the game open with the second grand slam of his career and first this season. Since returning from Pawtucket, Middlebrooks has impressed at the plate and has stayed consistent with his approach. He’s hitting .343/.413/.529 since his recall on Aug. 10 with seven extra-base hits, along with eight walks against 17 strikeouts, an improvement over his performance earlier in the season. He cooled off for a stretch prior to the series against the Tigers, going 4-for-25 in the previous three series, but Middlebrooks went 5-for-11 in his last three games.
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: John Lackey vs. Hiroki Kuroda||07.20.13 at 8:30 am ET|
Fresh off a well-rounded 4-2 win to open a three-game set with the Yankees, the Red Sox will look to clinch a series win Saturday at Fenway Park when John Lackey gets the ball against Hiroki Kuroda.
Lackey (7-6, 2.78 ERA) is in the midst of one of the best stretches during a comeback season that could prove to be one of the strongest campaigns of his career. In each of his last six starts dating back to June 15 — shortly after Clay Buchholz’s spectacular start to 2013 came to a halt — the right-handed Lackey has gone at least seven innings and allowed no more than two runs, with the Red Sox picking up wins in four of those contests.
His June 12 outing was particularly dominant, even if he was a little wild. The Athletics drew four walks while Lackey tossed another seven innings, this time allowing two runs on three hits. He struck out only five, but the effort was more than enough for the Red Sox to come away with a 4-2 victory.
“This is one [start] that probably says more about where I’m at than anything,” Lackey told the media after the game. “I probably didn’t have my best stuff that I’ve had the last few times out and I was still able to do pretty good against a pretty good team.
“It’s still a work in progress, but I feel pretty good with where I’m at. Usually my touch and feel and that sort of stuff, offspeed pitches, it’s usually better in the second half. That’s usually what happens for me.”
Lackey has not pitched against the Yankees in the last two seasons, but a trio of New York batters have found decent success against him in their careers. Ichiro Suzuki, who saw Lackey quite a bit when they were AL West rivals, and Robinson Cano are both hitting above .300, while Derek Jeter is right behind them at .297.
Kuroda (8-6, 2.65), meanwhile, doesn’t have a ton of history against any of the Red Sox, having spent only a season and a half on the junior circuit, but he is having another solid season overall.
Opponents have failed to score in their last 15 2/3 innings against the Japanese righty. Five of those frames came against the Twins on July 12, when Kuroda scattered six hits and two walks while fanning five.
|Derek Jeter placed on DL, will miss series vs. Red Sox||07.19.13 at 11:33 am ET|
Derek Jeter‘s return to the majors did not last long — one game, to be precise. The Yankees captain was returned to the disabled list Friday with a strained right quadriceps and will miss this weekend’s series against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.
Jeter missed the first 91 games of the season as he recovered from an ankle that was broken twice (the first time in last October’s ALCS vs. the Tigers). In his first game back last Thursday against the Royals, Jeter went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored while serving as the team’s designated hitter, but he left with a Grade 1 quad strain. He has not played since.
Jeter was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to July 12, so he could return as soon as July 27.
Brent Lillibridge — one of the two players the Red Sox received from the White Sox in the Kevin Youkilis trade last June who was subsequently traded to Cleveland a month later, signed as a free agent with the Cubs in the offseason and was acquired by the Yankees last month — was called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take Jeter’s place on the roster.
Eduardo Nunez is expected to remain the starting shortstop in Jeter’s absence. In 36 games, Nunez is hitting.215/.271/.556 with no home runs and eight RBIs. Yankees shortstops have combined to hit .210/.268/.279 this season.
|Buster Olney on M&M: Jackie Bradley Jr. ‘looks like he’s going to be [Red Sox] version of Derek Jeter’||03.27.13 at 1:52 pm ET|
ESPN’s Buster Olney joined Mut & Merloni Wednesday to talk about Jackie Bradley Jr. and his expectations of how the AL East will shake out this year.
Olney said he expects Bradley to start the season in Boston, although he doesn’t believe that’s the best move for the Red Sox since it could cost them or hurt their chances to retain Bradley in the long run.
“What gets brought up constantly in their conversations, I would guess, is, look what happened to the Braves when Jason Heyward was a rookie,” Olney said. “They start the year with him and they make the playoffs by one game. You look at the Angels last year, who didn’t start the year with [Mike] Trout, and they went 6-14, scrambled back and fell short because they had played the first month without him. There are other examples of that, and that’s why my guess is they’re going to start the year with him on their roster.”
Although he thinks waiting to bring Bradley up is the smarter move, Olney said he thinks Bradley’s personality, as well as his play, will benefit the Sox significantly.
“He is a blessing for the Red Sox, in terms that they have this type of player with this type of personality at the beginning of the year,” Olney said. “He’s so mature. He looks like he’s going to be their version of Derek Jeter, he really does. I don’t mean as a player — I mean in terms of being able to handle things when he gets up.”
In a crowded, tough-to-predict AL East, Olney is picking the Red Sox third, behind the Orioles and Rays and ahead of the Jays and Yankees.
“I think you literally could pick the names out of a hat and come up with plausible scenarios every single time,” Olney said. “After wrestling with it and being around the Yankees, I’m picking them last in the division. I just think they have too many issues with that lineup. I’ve got the Red Sox third. I’ve got the Orioles first. I think they have a lot more pitching depth than we’ve been giving them credit for.”
On Jackie Bradley Jr: “I would not start the year with him. I would say right away, he’s going down to the minor leagues. I think that’s what they should do, because his agent is Scott Boras. He’s almost certainly not going to sign a team-friendly deal in the first couple years of his career. He’s probably going to become a free agent, and why not back that up by a year? That’s a decision that involves dollars, and if you’re the Red Sox and it’s nine games in April, you’re probably going to forget about it by June.
|Kevin Youkilis on WAAF: Why he chose the Yankees, bringing more love to the rivalry, and getting Derek Jeter to rock a ‘stache||12.18.12 at 5:10 pm ET|
Former Red Sox All-Star Kevin Youkilis, in an interview on WAAF’s Hill-Man Morning Show (to hear the complete interview, click here), said that he didn’t envision signing with the Yankees at the start of the offseason, and that the decision to do so “wasn’t easy.” He had a preference to play close to the Bay Area — where he and his family live during the offseason — and he was also intrigued by the possibility of playing for Terry Francona in Cleveland, where the former Red Sox manager will now steward the Indians.
But, ultimately, the Yankees’ combination of a competitive opportunity and a sizable one-year, $12 milliion contract sold Youkilis on joining the Yankees for 2013.
“It wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to sign, because I had Tito in Cleveland, New York and there were a couple other teams in the mix. But in the end, I had to do what was best. I thought it was the best opportunity to win the World Series, was with the New York Yankees,” he said. “I think when you’re a free agent, it’s never easy. For me, the easiest decision would have been if the Oakland A’s or San Francisco Giants were in the running because they’re the closest teams to where I am now. Read the rest of this entry »
|Saturday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia||07.28.12 at 10:09 am ET|
Jon Lester will take the mound for the Red Sox against the Yankees for the second time this season on Saturday afternoon, going up against New York lefty CC Sabathia.
In his most recent outing, Lester tossed four innings and allowed 11 runs and four home runs as the Red Sox lost 15-7 to the Blue Jays. On the season Lester is 5-8 with a 5.46 ERA.
Boston has lost Lester’s last four starts, and the lefty allowed 22 combined runs over that stretch. His last win came a month ago, on June 27, when he allowed four runs in seven innings en route to a 10-4 victory over the Blue Jays.
He last took the mound against the Yankees on July 8 at Fenway. He allowed four earned runs and lasted 4 1/3 innings as the Red Sox lost 7-3. Nick Swisher leads Yankees batters with eight RBIs in his career against Lester and Derek Jeter has a .365 batting average against the southpaw.
The Yankees lost Sabathia’s last start, 5-4 to the Athletics. He allowed three runs and struck out six through seven innings. It was Sabathia’s second start since coming off the DL, making the lefty 1-1 since his return.
His first game off the DL was a 6-1 victory over Toronto, when Sabathia threw six innings and allowed zero runs.
The 32-year-old will be making his first start against the Red Sox this season. He has pitched against 11 current Red Sox batters, surrendering seven RBIs to Jacoby Ellsbury. In 71 plate appearances against Sabathia, Carl Crawford is batting .319.
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