Yankees vs. Red Sox: 5 Things New York Must to Do Beat Boston
The New York Yankees thus far has played poorly against their biggest rival, the Boston Red Sox. While the team is just 1.5 games behind in the standings, the Bronx Bombers most likely will have to beat Boston some time.
Winning two of 11 games is certainly not enough. The rosters for both teams are set up similarly in style and payroll, so there shouldn't be a such a large differential in head-to-head games.
Here is what the Yankees must do to win their first series against the Red Sox.
5. Beat Up Right-Handed Pitching
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New York has provided Jon Lester with an ERA of 5 with 18 hits against him. However, the Yankees have been dominated by Josh Beckett and his 1 ERA.
Setup man Daniel Bard has an ERA of 2.84 while Jonathan Papelbon is at just 3.00. Boston's closer puts runners on base, and the Yankees need to make him pay for doing so.
4. Pressure on the Basepaths
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Boston pitchers are not phenominal at picking off runners, especially when it comes to the bullpen for the Sox.
New York has good base stealing in Curtis Granderson (24 SB), Brett Gardner (38 SB), Derek Jeter (14 SB) and Eduardo Nunez (18 SB).
Jarrod Saltalamacchia has been throwing out runners at an astonishing rate after the month of April, but he still must be tested. In order to get steals, the Yankees must get runners on base.
This is leading to the biggest point.
3. Prevent Top of Red Sox Lineup from Getting on Base
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Jacoby Ellsbury has an on-base percentage of .392 against the Yankees while Dustin Pedroia is on more than half the time. The beef in the middle of the order is sure to cash in eventually.
C.C. Sabathia, like most pitchers, may want to hold his best stuff for later in the game, but he needs to come out firing. Any starting pitcher who makes it through six innings in this rivalry has done his job, even if the pitcher is Josh Beckett, Jon Lester or Sabathia.
The approach for New York's starting pitchers has to synch up with this philosophy, and they need to come out throwing like relievers.
2. Sabathia Needs to Step Up
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New York's horse is 0-4 with an ERA over 7.00 against Boston. The lefties in the linup are lighting him up with an average of .333.
The analysts on Baseball Tonight had conflicting views on whether the issue is Sabathia's slider or that he's not using his changeup enough.
Whatever the case, the Red Sox trot out Josh Beckett and Jon Lester who are known to pitch well in big games. Hopefully the Yankees can get clutch performances out of Freddy Garcia and others, but Sabathia has to be counted on.
1. Lineup Needs to Hit
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No Yankee everyday starter has hit over .233 against Boston. No. 3 and 4 hitters Mark Teixera and Alex Rodriguez are hitting below .200 with only three home runs between them.
There is only so much lineup shuffling Joe Girardi can do, and he loves moving players around. The pitching for Boston is good, but it's not that good.