It's early May and the Red Sox are already facing the New York Yankees for a second time. Ho hum. Remember when Yankees-Red Sox series used to mean something?
That being said, the inconsistent Red Sox, coming off a sweep of the Angels, will have their hands full with the Bronx Bombers. The weakness of this year's Red Sox is they can't hit good pitching. They'll be up against the Yankees' three best starters - Phil Hughes, CC Sabathia, and A.J. Burnett. Hughes, in particular, has been terrific. He's finally meeting the potential that was projected for him a few years ago when he was one of the hottest pitching prospects in baseball.
After getting swept by the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox played very well vs. the Angels and even overcame an erratic Daisuke Matsuzaka performance (is there any other kind of Dice-K performance?)) to come from behind and complete the series sweep.
The Red Sox will be pitching Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz, and Jon Lester in this series. Tonight's game is very important for Beckett to continue getting back on track. It would be good if Beckett can rediscover his curveball to compliment his 4-seamer and 2-seamer. The Red Sox need him to be the #1 starter. One concern about Beckett is his stubbornness. Despite throwing 96 mph, he's not a strikeout pitcher. Beckett throws a lot of pitches due to what seems to be a desire by him to pile up the K's. He should look to pitch to contact more, like John Lackey, and let his defense do the work.
As a team, the Yankees are hitting .276 - despite Nick Johnson and Mark Teixiera both still hitting under .200. Second baseman Robinson Cano has been the AL MVP, thus far. Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada still refuse to get old - both of them hitting well, as usual.
A key to this series will be keeping LF Brett Gardner (who?) off base. Gardner has a .430 OBP and has 13 steals already.
This series will be a good test for the Red Sox - are they an 85 win team or are they Wild Card contenders? It would be nice to see the Sox take 2 of 3 and put a small dent into the Yankees Wild Card.