Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Preview (Red Sox at Yankees 8:05 E.T.)

Tonight’s featured game between the Red Sox and Yankees has the potential to be an extremely interesting and telling game for both sides. The Red Sox look to sweep the first series of the season between the two teams, while the Yankees are looking to leave the weekend on a high note after losing two heart wrenching games to Boston.

For the Red Sox, things could not have gone much better this series. While Mike Napoli and David Ortiz have not necessarily torn the cover off the baseball, the rest of the potent Boston offense has been able to carry them. Surprisingly, Boston pitching has been lights out, led by Justin Masterson and Joe Kelly. The bullpen, specifically Edward Mujica, has proven that it is still a major question mark, but Sox fans are hopeful that they will not be a member of many close games.

Photo courtesy of the Boston Herald

Photo courtesy of the Boston Herald

Tonight, Clay Buchholz looks to follow up on a masterful Opening Day performance, where he went 7 scoreless innings, giving up only 3 hits while striking out 9. Buchholz should again dominate against an extremely poor and old Yankee lineup. Masahiro Tanaka looks to assert himself and prove that he is the same pitcher that the Yankees payed big money to put in pinstripes. One would think that this could turn into a pitcher’s duel, but both starting “aces” still have many major question marks in this young season. For Buchholz, the question remains if he has truly turned a corner and become the pitcher that everyone thought he would be 3+ years ago. For Tanaka, New York fans and management should be extremely concerned as to if he can be the same pitcher after his injury. Tanaka has yet to “let it loose” and really test his arm strength.

After a 19 inning, 6 hour and 49 minute game on Friday, many starters were given the day off yesterday, including Jacoby Ellsbury, Mark Teixeira, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez. Look for all those players to lace up their cleats and be ready for the game tonight. Both teams have something to prove, but I think that the Red Sox are simply the better team. Coupled with a magnificent, powerful lineup, the Red Sox have a group of pitchers that are trying to prove to the rest of the Majors that they are a force to be reckoned with.

Look for Teixeira to be back at first, Chase Headley at third, and Alex Rodriguez at DH. The experiment of putting A-Rod at first base was something that most Yankee fans should cringe at for the next 15 years. However, A-Rod has been swinging a great bat lately and should be a pleasant surprise for most. He looks to have used his year-long suspension to better his conditioning and improve his bat speed, which has become blatantly apparent in his ability to get around on those inside pitches.

My prediction is a close game for 4 or 5 innings, but I believe that Clay Buchholz will tear apart this beaten up Yankee lineup, while the patient Red Sox lineup should chase the struggling Tanaka out of the game early. However, if the Yankees are able to chase Buchholz out of the game and get into the Boston bullpen early, they have a very good chance of salvaging the final game of the series. The Yankees lineup will need to step up and out-hit the Red Sox if they want to have any chance of beating the red-hot Red Sox.

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