Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees Series Preview
The rivals haven't met since that night, but will play again this weekend, facing off four times in the next three days. The Yankees could put enough daylight between them and Boston to all but secure the AL East, if the Red Sox can't right the ship.
Boston has lost five of seven after a bad road trip and, against New York, has lost six of their last eight games dating back to last season.
2012 so Far
2012 did not start well for either team, but while the Red Sox are still only two games above .500, the Yankees have been playing much better and lead the AL East, 5.5 games ahead of the second-placed Baltimore Orioles.
The Sox are 7.5 games behind their rivals and this series could see them close that to 3.5, or fall to 11.5 games behind at the All-Star break.
Injuries have taken their toll on both teams and, between them, 21 members of their 40-man rosters are on the DL. New York will be without their two best pitchers, CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, their closer Mariano Rivera and outfielder Brett Gardner.
Boston are without 2B Dustin Pedroia, outfielders Carl Crawford and Jacoby Ellsbury, closer Andrew Bailey and starters Clay Buchholz and Daisuke Matsuzaka.
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The Red Sox and Yankees both rank in the top seven in baseball in runs scored (Boston 4th, NY 7th), home runs (NY 1st, Boston 7th) and slugging (NY 1st, Boston 4th).
However, while the Yankees have their big hitters healthy and playing well, the Red Sox do not. Adrian Gonzalez is a singles hitter right now, Dustin Pedroia is out and Will Middlebrooks has not played since June 1 with a hamstring issue.
In their last game, Boston's outfield was Daniel Nava - Ryan Kalish - Cody Ross. Ross has been good for the long ball, with 12 home runs, but Nava has cooled off. The infield featured Mauro Gomez and Nick Punto, with a combined batting average under .180.
While Boston's second baseman Pedroia is out, New York's is tearing it up. Robinson Cano is coming off a June which saw him hit 11 home runs and bat .340. While he only has one homer in July, he is hitting at an inhuman .471 clip.
Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.17) v Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.06)
Kuroda has proven to be a great pickup for New York. His 3.17 ERA is the best on the Yanks' staff amongst those with at least four starts. He has allowed more than two runs just once in his last seven starts, going 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA.
Josh Beckett was impressive against the Yankees in 2011, going 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA and 0.94 WHIP in five starts. This is his first against New York in 2012. Despite two terrible outings this year, he has been generally pretty good. He has lost three straight decisions dating back to May, but that's largely due to Boston's lack of offense (seven runs total in Beckett's last four games).
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Phil Hughes (9-6, 4.29) v Franklin Morales (1-1, 2.51)
Phil Hughes has not been the same since a great first half in 2010. He had a 5.49 ERA in 17 appearances last year and has been inconsistent at best in 2012. In his last two starts, though, he has allowed just two runs in 16 innings.
Morales has been excellent as a starter, with a 2.00 ERA in three appearances. His last time out, he pitched seven shutout innings against the Seattle Mariners. He did pitch 1.2 innings in relief two days ago, though.
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Freddy Garcia (2-2, 5.94) v Felix Doubront (8-4, 4.42)
It's hard to know what you're going to get out of Freddy Garcia. In four starts at the beginning of the season, he was a disaster and was moved to the bullpen. He has another shot at the rotation now and turned in his best outing of the year against the Tampa Bay Rays last time out, surrendering two runs over 5.1 innings.
Doubront has shown that he has the talent to be a starter, with some flashes of brilliance in a season in which he has been at times Boston's best pitcher. On June 21, he shut down the Yankees, allowing just one run over six dominant innings. However, he had a terrible June, allowing four or more runs three times en route to a 5.83 ERA.
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Ivan Nova (9-3, 4.05) V Jon Lester (5-5, 4.33)
Ivan Nova is a great young talent. One year removed from a 16-4 2011 campaign in which he had a 3.70 ERA, Nova is impressing again. He had a truly dominant June, holding opposing hitters to a .208 average, while pitching to a 1.26 ERA.
Lester has not been so good. Boston's supposed ace has had a couple of good outings, including his last against Oakland, but at times has looked terrible. In his last nine outings, his ERA is just below 5.00.
Adam MacDonald is a Scottish journalism student at GCU and has been a featured columnist for the Boston Red Sox since October 2010. You can follow him on Twitter, or tell him how awesome/terrible this article was, by clicking here.