Here’s some thoughts on the upcoming Sox-Yanks series…
Tuesday, Wakefield vs. Pettitte
The last time that Wakefield pitched was August 6th – nearly three weeks ago. He’s been sidelined with tightness behind his right shoulder. David Pauley could pitch for Boston if Wakefield cannot answer the bell. Before he got hurt, Wakefield was dealing. In his last 13 starts, he threw 88 IP with an ERA of 2.66. In those games, batters only hit .194 against him.
Andy Pettitte has gone seven innings and allowed three runs or less in his last three starts. However, his home ERA this season is 4.72 (in 82 IP) compared to 3.67 on the road (in 88.1 IP).
Wednesday, Byrd vs. Ponson
In his last seven starts, Byrd has an ERA of 2.79 (in 48.1 IP). He’s allowed exactly 4 runs in each of his last two starts – both for Boston.
In his last start, Ponson allowed seven earned runs in just two innings of work. He’s started 10 games for the Yankees this season, allowing a BA/OBA/SLG line of .313/.383/.479 to the 249 batters that he has faced.
Thursday, Lester vs. Mussina
Lester got hammered in his last start. He allowed seven earned runs in 2.1 IP. However, in the 6 starts prior to that one, he pitched 42.2 IP with an ERA of 2.53. This season he’s been a much better pitcher at Fenway Park (2.93 ERA in 89 IP) than on the road (4.11 ERA in 81 IP). This season, to date, left-handed batters have a .227/.274/.318 (BA/OBA/SLG) line against him in 212 PA.
In his last 11 starts, Mike Mussina is 6-2 with an ERA of 2.83 in 70 IP. During this time, he’s faced 280 batters and allowed an BA/OBA/SLG line of .280./.300/.394. Clearly, the secret to his success is not walking anyone and keeping the ball in the park.
For the Red Sox, Pedroia, Bay, Youkilis, Ortiz, and Crisp have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Varitek has been batting well over the last week.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie have been ice cold, lately, for the Red Sox.
For the Yankees, Abreu, Jeter and Cano have been swinging hot bats over the last two weeks. Damon and Nady have also been batting well over the last week.
Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Giambi have been ice cold, lately, for the Yankees.
My prediction? Tuesday and Thursday should be close games. They both could go either way. However, the Red Sox have the edge on Wednesday because of Ponson. Girardi should remove him from the game the minute he allows a fourth run – no matter what the inning.
I don’t think either team will sweep this series. But, I cannot tell you which team will win the series. What do you think?