Yankees vs. Red Sox Rd. 1
April 8, 2011
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It could get late pretty early for the Sox this year if they can't win a series against the Yankees this weekend
One of the biggest rivalries in all of sports starts its annual series of 18 games against one another this weekend. Originally coming into this series you figure both these teams would be around 1st place in the AL East standings. However, everyone’s World Series favored Red Sox have started the year at an anemic 0-6. I know its just six games into the season but there is some historical relevance to this woeful a start. This is the worse start for the Red Sox in 66 years. As a team they are hitting .181 and the pitching staff has a 7.13 ERA. Perhaps the most gloomy stat for Red Sox nation is no team has ever made the playoffs after starting the season 0-6. Right now the 2011 Red Sox are like a basketball team that when you see them on paper and watch them warm-up you are really afraid to play them. They are all big and athletic and intimidating. Then you watch them play and see there is no team work or cohesiveness and next thing you know they just lost to a group of 5-10 white guys shooting jumpers. On the other hand the Yankees are off to a solid start with a record of 4-2. Traditional slow starter Mark Teixeira is off to a great start with 4 HRs and 10 RBIs. Alex Rodriguez looks like the A-Rod of old which is scary for the rest of the AL. The rotation has not as been as bad as people made it seem with 3rd and 4th starters Phil Hughes and Ivan Nova being a huge key for success throughout the season and playoffs. The bullpen looks like it could be dominant and they could shorten most games to six innings with Joba, Soriano, and Rivera at the back end.
Game 1 at Fenway
Phil Hughes vs. John Lackey
Both these starters got shelled in their first starts and this isn’t the match up either pitcher exactly would pick for a bounce back performance. Lackey was a bit of a disappointment for the Red Sox last year, and Hughes is coming off a shaky post season and first start. Don’t look for too much out of either of these starters and as usual the game should be a high scoring affair with bullpens being a major factor. That being said, game 1 should go to the hotter hitting team and good back-end of the bullpen. Yankees win 9-6.
Ivan Nova vs. Clay Buchholz
Buchholz is coming off a stellar 2010 season in which he posted 2.33 ERA and a 17-7 record. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova is in the starting rotation to begin the season for the first time in his career. He is a talented pitcher who has “stuff” as so many people like to say about prospects. He seems to have great confidence and isn’t afraid of the moment, which should help him heading into Fenway on Saturday. Buchholz is 1-1 vs. the Yankees the last two times he faced them, with an ERA of 5.84. This is a small sample size though and the edge in this game should go to Boston and end their string of 7 straight losses evening up the series at one a piece.
CC Sabathia vs. Josh Beckett
CC is a stud and defines a top of the rotation guy. He is still the same pitcher that led the Yankees to the 2009 World Series. These same accolades use to be contributed to Josh Beckett. However, over the past couple of seasons Beckett has battled control and injury issues. He is no longer considered a top of the rotation pitcher and can’t be expected to carry a team and staff anymore. The huge edge goes to the Yankees in this match-up and they should come out ahead sending the Red Sox off to a 1-8 start.
No matter what happens you know you will be able to enjoy 3 hour 30 minute to 4 hour games on FOX and ESPN. The games will be tense and mean a lot more than they usually do at this time of the year due to the Red Sox desperate situation at 0-6. If the Sox get swept people could have a valid argument that the Red Sox are done.