Friday, August 16, 2013

Yankees vs. Red Sox...42 is the Number...

The Yankees are in the midst of an up-and-down last week and a half...first they get swept by the lowly Chicago White Sox being blasted with Pettitte on the mound 8-1, and then narrowly defeated 3-2 and 6-5 (in 12 innings). Then they go on to take 2 of 3 from the world-beaters known as the Detroit Tigers aka Miggy and the Fightin' Tiges in the midst of a seemingly decided downturn in the great Mariano Rivera's ability to close out games.  From there they take 3 of 4 from the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim of Orange County of the Milky Way.  Although the Halos haven't been all that great this year either, they do have Mike Trout and two former "Yankee-killers" in Jared Weaver and C.J. Wilson.  So here the Yankees sit on August 16th, 2013 a mere 8.5 games back of the Red Sox and 6.5 games out of the last wildcard spot.  They have ridden the roller coaster of a season to a record of 62-58 with 42 games to play...all of this having been done with over 50% of their projected starting roster on the DL at some point during the season, the A-Rod circus running rampant for months, and the day-by-day speculation of when El Capitan will return.

So it all comes down to this: the number 42.

Will #42 Go Out With a Bang or a Whimper?

There are 42 games left in the 2013 season.  I am ever the optimist and I see this playing out like a story-book Hollywood ending.  One that highlights the #42 riding off into the sunset with World Series trophy #6 in his hands.  But it all rides on this weekend in my humble opinion.  And one could argue that this is the perfect time to catch the first place team from Beantown.  The team that discarded Babe Ruth like a cheap cigar heads into the home weekend series vs. the Yankees having battled the last place Toronto Blue Jays in 2 extra innings games while the birds took 2 of 3 games.  Prior to that series, the Sox lost 3 out of 4 to the suddenly hot Kansas City Royals of all teams as they were outscored 21-15.

Well, the Yankees haven't been that hot lately either you say?  They are only 5-5 in their last 10 games you say?

Oh but you see...the Yankees have come up with a bit of a Renaissance in the form of spectacular pitching and a man known as Alfonso Soriano (please John Sterling...stop with the home run calls...please).  If you have been on the dark side of the moon this past week you are probably the only person that doesn't know that Mr. "Strikeout or Home Run" is 11 for his last 21 (over 5 games), with 1 double, 5 home runs, 15 rbi, and 8 runs scored.  Oh...and 5 strikeouts.  Something missed in all of this Soriano mayhem is the fact that Alex Rodriguez has silently (can that be right?) slipped into a bit of a groove at the plate.  Sabathia and Hughes are actually starting to pitch again...and Kuroda is still a workhorse that is starting to see some run support.

All that being said, here are the pitching matchups for the upcoming Yankees vs. Red Sox series:

Game 1:  Pettitte 7-9, 4.62 vs. Doubront 8-5, 3.66
Game 2:  Kuroda 11-7, 2.33 vs. Lackey 7-10, 3.32
Game 3: Sabathia 10-10, 4.66 vs. Dempster 6-8, 4.50

I like the Yankees odds going into this series.  The Bronx Bombers (aka Soriano Bombers) may find themselves only 5.5 back from first place after this weekend.  But ultimately the fate of the Yankees in this series and within the season may rest in the right arm of the best closer in history, #42, Mr. Sandman.  He will be tested by a lineup similar to the Tigers this weekend.  Will the rest he received during the Angels series be enough to regain his earlier-season form?  Or will this Hollywood script be reduced to a pile of dust and with it the Yankees' 2013 Postseason hopes?

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