ESPN's Sunday Night Game of the Week features Boston's Josh Beckett in a battle with the Yankees' Freddy Garcia.
RED SOX: Josh Beckett
In 21 starts, with Beckett on the mound, the Red Sox have only lost five times this season. Just by looking at Beckett's record (9-4) no one would ever know that he has been throwing lights out. Ironically, had the Red Sox provided Beckett with their normal run support he would boast a more appropriate record of 14-4.
Beckett has more than likely been snubbed from Cy Young talk around the league because of his record. But, take one glance at his ERA (2.20 / 2nd AL), WHIP (0.92 / 2nd AL), SO (122), and hits allowed (91 / 1st AL) and its obvious Beckett deserves respect.
In his three starts against the Yankees, this year, Beckett has been nearly flawless. In 21 innings he struck out 23 batters surrendering just 10 hits and two earned runs.
If Beckett's cutter and change up are working, as usual, the Yankees could get shut out. He will have to be less than his best for the Yankees to hope to score at all.
If they are fortunate enough to get runners on then stolen bases will be essential to scoring against Beckett. Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, Eduardo Nunez and Derek Jeter will all have to be looking to swipe second base. Also, expect Gardner to try for third every time he gets the chance.
The Yankees will have to bring their A-game and capitalize on any and all errors to have any hope of winning this game.
YANKEES: Freddy Garcia
Without Garcia's consistency on the mound this season the Yankees would, more than likely, be feeling the Los Angeles Angels breathing down their necks in the race for the American League Wild Card. Garcia has a road ERA this season of 2.88 while striking out 43 batters over 53.2 innings.
He has not always had the opportunity to pitch on days when the Yankees provide solid run support. If the Yankees hope to defeat the Red Sox while Beckett is pitching that is going to have to change, but that's not the only thing.
Garcia has been eviscerated this season by Boston. In just eight innings of work Freddy gave up nine earned runs, walked six batters, and surrendered 11 hits.
There is no doubt that the Red Sox have had Garcia's number this season, but much like John Lackey, he has settled in and improved, winning five of his last seven decisions.
Either way expect the Red Sox to tee Garcia up for absolutely no less than three runs. It will take all the fire power the Yankees have to over come Beckett and the run deficit they are sure to face.
EXPECTED OUTCOME: RED SOX WIN 5-2