|Wednesday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Clay Buchholz vs. Hiroki Kuroda||04.03.13 at 10:21 am ET|
Clay Buchholz will look to follow Jon Lester‘s solid Opening Day performance against the “under construction” Yankees lineup on Wednesday night.
Buchholz comes into the season as the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation, although at times last year he seemed like the only pitcher putting up respectable numbers. The right-hander finished 2012 with an 11-8 record and 4.56 ERA in 189 1/3 innings of work.
If not for a rough first couple of months last year, Buchholz’s numbers would have been much better. In April, although he posted a 3-1 record, he had a whopping 8.69 ERA and opponents hit .331 against him. In May, he went 1-1 with a 5.60 ERA and his WHIP stood at 1.76. During the summer, when it seemed like much of the rotation was getting worse, Buchholz got better, finishing a combined 7-2 in June, July and August. He also lowered his season ERA from 7.19 on May 27 to 4.50 on Aug. 28.
Like Lester, Buchholz is coming off of a terrific spring training. In six starts, he went 3-0 with a 0.79 ERA, allowed only 12 hits in 22 2/3 innings pitched, and struck out 22. Last year against the Yankees, Buchholz went 0-2 with a 15.26 ERA.
The Yankees will send 38-year-old right-hander Hiroki Kuroda to the hill. Kuroda was a rock for the Yanks last year, going 16-11, posting a 3.32 ERA and logging 219 2/3 innings. Kuroda was durable in 2012, pitching at least five innings in every start after May 5.
In his second spring training in pinstripes, Kuroda went 1-2 with a 1.53 ERA in 17 2/3 innings and held opponents to a minuscule .191 batting average. In five starts vs. the Red Sox in 2012, Kuroda went 2-0 and allowed 36 hits and just four walks in 35 innings.
With all of the key Yankees injuries, Robinson Cano will have to step up in the remaining two games this series. He has had considerable success against Buchholz in his career, hitting .480 with a home run and three RBIs. New Yankee Vernon Wells has the most experience against Buchholz but only hits .192 against him.
For the Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia has hit Kuroda well, batting .429 with a home run and two RBIs. Shane Victorino has struggled, batting .214.
|Monday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Jon Lester vs. CC Sabathia||04.01.13 at 8:53 am ET|
The pitching matchup could be any Red Sox-Yankees Opening Day from the last few years, but nearly everywhere else on the field, baseball’s most famous rivals are in unfamiliar situations as the 2013 season opens.
Jon Lester will get the ball on Opening Day for the third consecutive time, his first chance to redeem himself after posting a 4.82 ERA in 2012. He had a strong spring, with a 0.75 ERA and an 0.50 WHIP to show for it. In 24 innings, he struck out 20 batters and allowed eight hits and four walks.
Opposing Lester will be CC Sabathia, one of the only pieces of the Yankees roster that seems stable as the season begins. Sabathia recorded a 3.34 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP in 200 innings last year, the seventh time in his career and the fourth in a row that he’s thrown at least 200 innings.
Sabathia has had some kinks to work out this spring after having surgery in October to remove a bone spur from his left elbow. He pitched 10 innings, given up 14 hits and four walks while posting a 5.40 ERA. He’s said there are no concerns about lingering pain or issues with his elbow.
The team behind him will look very different than it did in October, as Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Curtis Granderson and Alex Rodriguez all will miss Opening Day. The Yankees will lean on Robinson Cano, who’s heading into the final year of his contract in New York.
Lester might be relieved to avoid facing Jeter, who has a .333 average and a .397 OBP against him in 69 plate appearances. He’s more familiar with Jeter, Rodriguez, Teixeira and Granderson than the players who will take their places, so it’s harder to gauge how he might perform against the lineup he sees. In 13 starts against the Yankees in New York, he’s 7-2.
Last time Lester faced the Yankees, on Oct. 2, the Red Sox fell 4-3 when Raul Ibanez drove in the winning run in the bottom of the 12th inning. Lester went five innings, allowing eight hits and one unearned run.
|Hot Stove: Yankees reportedly close to deals with Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera||11.27.12 at 10:50 am ET|
According to Buster Olney of ESPN, the Yankees are nearing a one-year deal with left-hander Andy Pettitte that would pay the left-hander roughly $11 million in 2013. Pettitte, 40, made 12 starts last year after sitting out the 2011 season. He went 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA along with 69 strikeouts and 21 walks in 75 1/3 innings. He also made a pair of postseason starts, going 0-1 with a 3.29 ERA while making one start in the ALDS against the Orioles and one in the ALCS against the Yankees.
According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports (via twitter), New York is also close to a one-year deal with Mariano Rivera that would pay their longtime closer — who missed most of 2012 after blowing out his ACL — more than what they are paying Pettitte. Rivera pitched in just nine games in 2012 before suffering his season-ending injury, which broke a streak of nine straight years with at least 60 innings pitched and 17 consecutive seasons of 40 or more innings.
If accurate, Pettitte and Rivera would join Hiroki Kuroda as veterans with track records of success with the Yankees who have re-signed for one-year deals. That structure suits New York’s desire to avoid long-term commitments that would limit the club’s ability to get under the $189 million luxury tax threshold in 2014.
|Bobby Valentine: ‘Keep winning series and we’ll be just fine’||08.02.12 at 12:13 am ET|
The second wild card in each league has drastically changed the landscape of hopeful playoff contenders around big league baseball.
Take the Red Sox, for example.
After their 7-5 loss to the Tigers, they fell back to one game over .500 at 53-52 but still remain within striking distance of a playoff spot in the American League. They are just two games back of the Tigers (55-50) and both teams feel they have what it takes to overcome the Angels and Athletics.
But more to the point, the Red Sox have followed up a 1-6 stretch by winning consecutive series over the AL East-leading Yankees and the Tigers. Before getting swept at home by Toronto, they also had taken 3-of-4 from the White Sox, the leaders of the AL Central. That’s cause enough for hope and optimism from Red Sox skipper Bobby Valentine.
“I was real proud of the way the guys battled that game,” he said after Wednesday’s loss. “That’s another series we win. Win a couple of series against tough teams, that’s Yankees and Detroit. Keep winning series and we’ll be just fine.”
Jarrod Saltalamacchia was happy to take 2-of-3 from the Tigers but sounded a much more urgent tone postgame.
“You don’t expect to win every game from here on out, obviously, but we have to win every series,” Saltalamacchia said. “That’s something we definitely have to do. Just continue to keep going. Every win counts, especially at this point, so we just have to continue to go. We have a lot of games against our division.”
Since the All-Star break, the Red Sox have been what they’ve been all season – a .500 team showing occasional signs of breaking out against good teams. They are 10-9 in the 19 games since heading into the break with their worst mark since 1997. That ’97 team never got itself on track in the second half while this team has an extra wild card to shoot for.
“Definitely, when you have that extra wild card, it definitely plays a factor in everything you do,” Saltalamacchia said. “Every win counts. We saw that last year. One win kept us out of the playoffs. So, at this point, that’s what we’re looking at. One win is what we need, and then we have to go for the next one and the next one. I think that does help in a way, especially where we’re at now. We have to keep winning.”
|Derek Jeter on Red Sox in second half: ‘I’m sure they’ll be fine’||07.09.12 at 11:11 am ET|
Don’t worry Red Sox fans. Derek Jeter says your team will be just fine in the second half.
Easy for the captain of the best team in baseball to say after his Yankees just took three of four at Fenway Park to put 10 games in the loss column between themselves and the woebegone Red Sox.
They’re always tough,” Jeter said after his three hits paced the Yankees to a 7-3 win over the Red Sox Sunday night into Monday morning. “You play 162 games for a reason. Teams go through rough periods. They’ve had a lot of injuries and they have a lot of guys that will be coming back. So, yeah, they’re always tough. We won three out of four but it’s not like you’re looking forward to playing them like it’s easy or anything. It’s a challenge every time you face these guys. I’m sure they’ll be fine.”
The Yankees are already fine. They’re a major league best 52-33 at the break, going on a 30-12 tear since May 22.
“We wanted to finish strong obviously four days off,” Jeter said. “We’ve been playing good. We’ve been playing good now for what seems like quite a long time. Obviously, there’s a lot more attention paid when we’re playing Boston but I think we’ve playing good regardless of who the opposition has been. We had four games in three days here and it seems like we never left the place so it definitely feels good to win.”
Challenge is one way to describe one of the only misfires for Jeter in a night and weekend of precious few highlights for Red Sox fans.
Jeter dropped back into his customary stance behind second base for what seemed the certain end of a first-inning rally for the Red Sox. He got under a Cody Ross pop up that would’ve stranded two runners on base. But the unthinkable happened. He dropped the ball, Pedro Ciriaco scored and Fenway went into a brief frenzy.
“Well, I wish I had a good story for you, like a bird hit it or something but it was basically a pop up and I dropped it. That’s it. There’s really nothing else to say. I think I’ve done it one other time in my career in Anaheim. I don’t know, man. I dropped it. I used two hands. It didn’t go into the glove or my hand. That’s probably, if you think about it, the most embarrassing thing that could happen to a player on defense, whether it’s an infielder, outfielder or catcher. I wish I could tell you the wind was gusting and blew it all over the place but it didn’t happen, man. I just dropped it.”
Jeter was battling a cramp in his right shoulder that he said was like a charley horse. He was given the out of saying it affected him but turned down the excuse.
“It’s nothing. Just a little muscle spasm,” said Jeter, who was asked when it cropped up.
“Right when the pop up came,” Jeter joked. “No, it was after that.”
|Did Justin Germano prove he can start for the Red Sox, or someone else?||07.07.12 at 7:58 pm ET|
In clearly what was the only bright spot of a 6-1 Game 1 loss to the Yankees in Saturday’s day-night doubleheader, Justin Germano came in and proved he wasn’t overwhelmed, overmatched or in awe of the powerful lineup that faced him in his 2012 debut for the Red Sox.
The brightest spot of the game by far was the performance of Germano, who relieved starter Franklin Morales in a two-run Yankee fourth inning that stretched the lead to 6-0. Germano finished with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, saving the Red Sox bullpen for the nightcap.
How did he do it? He went soft on the hard-hitting Yankees.
Instead of trying to blow them away with fastballs, he turned to his secondary stuff, like his changeup and curve.
“It was huge because my fastball was all over the place today,” Germano said. “My release point with the fastball kind of felt a little bit off, I was rushing it, trying to keep it down and in turn, I kept missing up, and was able to get away with some pitches up that they were still able to mishit. I was able to get away with those because I was able to throw all my off-speed pitches for strikes.”
Germano is hardly new to the majors, having pitched for the Padres from 2004-08, the Reds in 2006 and the Indians over the last two seasons. The Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent in January.
He started the season at Triple-A Pawtucket, where he didn’t pout about being in the minors but rather dominated, going 9-4 with a 2.40 ERA in 16 starts and one relief appearance. He earned a spot on the International League All-Star team. He led all Triple-A pitchers with a 0.90 WHIP, tied for first in wins and was third in opponents batting average at .211.
But pitching on a regular basis in the American League East is a different matter altogether.
On Saturday, in Game 1, Germano showed he might very well deserve a shot at sticking on the roster, either as a long man or a spot starter.
“Just try to keep it close, try to limit the big innings and keep the team in there,” Germano said. ” I think it just comes down to going out there and not holding back, having faith in yourself. If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’re going to have success.
“Yeah, definitely it’s in your mind, especially that first outing. You want to go out there and make a good first impression, take it one outing at a time and hope to stick around.”
“That’s a big thing against any team, especially a fastball-hitting team like these guys are,” said pitching coach Bob McClure. “It was a very good, very good. He really commanded all three of his pitches and could get all three over at any time. It was a good job.”
|Freddy Garcia redeems himself at Fenway||at 6:22 pm ET|
Freddy Garcia remembers the last time he pitched at Fenway Park before Saturday’s Game 1 6-1 win over the Red Sox.
It was also a game he started for the Yankees in which New York came out on top. But for a far different reason. That was the game on April 21 when the Yankees had to score seven in the seventh and seven in the eighth to come out on top 15-9. That was the game the Yankees fell behind 9-0 before storming back.
He was shelled for five runs and seven hits while lasting just 1 2/3 innings.
On Saturday, it was the Yankees doing the early shelling for Garcia as Nick Swisher and Andruw Jones belted back-to-back homers in a four-run first inning against Red Sox starter Franklin Morales and Garcia threw 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball as the Yankees won the first game of a day-night doubleheader, 6-1, Saturday at Fenway Park. Boston’s fifth straight loss dropped them back to the .500 mark at 42-42. Derek Jeter had three hits for the eighth time this season for the Yankees, who moved 9 1/2 games ahead of the Red Sox in the AL East.
“I did not think about it,” Garcia said Saturday. “That happened in April. We’re in July so I had a bad outing that day. I cannot think about it. I have to go out and pitch. That’s what I do.”
In his roughest outing of the year, Morales lasted just 3 1/3 innings, allowing six runs on six hits, including a season-high four home runs. Morales allowed a leadoff single to Jeter in the first but appeared ready to get out of the inning when Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez flew out. But he hit Robinson Cano with a pitch and Swisher belted his 13th homer to left. Jones followed with his eighth to left and the Yankees led, 4-0. Unlike Friday night, there was no response by the Red Sox in the bottom of the first.
Garcia held the Red Sox hitless until David Ortiz singled off the Monster with one out in the fourth. Ortiz would come around to score in that inning when Adrian Gonzalez and Mauro Gomez followed with singles. But the one-rally that showed promise ended when Ryan Kalish hit into an inning-ending doubleplay.
The brightest spot of the game by far was the performance of righthander Justin Germano, who relieved Morales in a two-run Yankee fourth inning that stretched the lead to 6-0. Germano finished with seven strikeouts over 5 2/3 scoreless innings, saving the Red Sox bullpen for the nightcap.
Ortiz went 1-for-1 with three walks to raise his average to .310. He has four walks and four singles in the series as the Yankees are pitching around him.
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