The Yankees are 2-1 against the Red Sox thus far on the season, having memorably won their first series of the year, which also represented the team's first series win at Fenway Park in April since 1975.
Tonight the Bombers are back in Boston for a three-game set, and the winner of this evening's game will have extended their current winning streak to five games. I have to say I'm a tad embarrassed that the Yankees lost even three games to the Angels given the way the Red Sox just slaughtered the Halos over their last four contests, although then again two of the Yankees' losses to Los Angeles were Home Run Javy starts.
Despite some struggles out of the gate, Boston is always a dangerous opponent -- especially in the bandbox -- and the Yankees' recent injury concerns (although Boston has certainly been bitten by the injury bug as well) along with the fact that they are legally prohibited from winning a Fox Saturday afternoon matinee at Fenway Park could make for a tough weekend for the good guys.
Each match-up features an excellent pair of pitchers, which probably means they'll all get lit up to varying degrees. Phil Hughes toes the rubber tonight against Josh Beckett, CC Sabathia takes on Clay Buchholz in the Fox Saturday Afternoon Game of Death and A.J. Burnett gets Jon Lester in the ESPN Sunday Night Marathon Heartbreaker.
It would be lovely to see the various slumping components of the offense finally start to wake up this weekend. Perhaps Nick the Stick can build on his perfect day on Wednesday, and maybe Tex and A-Rod will finally remember that they combined for 69 home runs last year. I'm also very excited to see what happens when Grit Gardner gets on the bases considering Boston's complete ineptitude at throwing runners out this season.
Anyway, I've gone ahead and compiled the stats for both teams' offenses and pitching staffs through today:
I know I've been harping on A-Rod's slump, but as much as I love Nick the Stick I can't believe he's actually out-wOBAing 'Rod right now. It'd be great to see Alex pop a couple over the Monstah this weekend. The Yankee offense has been carried by Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher. Outside of those four every other starter has a wOBA under .360. Yuck.
The Sox offense looks a bit better than what the Yankees are trotting out at the moment, although I had no idea V-Mart was trying to do his best Big Tex impression. Given that Martinez has been struggling, you know he'll end up raking in this series. Also, how happy must the Sox be that the Mike Lowell deal didn't end up going through? Considering he wasn't expected to be a significant part of the offense this year, that has to be a pleasant surprise for Theo & co.
Here's the pitching:
As we know, the Yankees' starters -- with the exception of Home Run Javy -- have been pitching out of their minds. Not to get all doom-and-gloom, but it would seem that the staff is due to fall back to earth at least somewhat, and three games at Fenway Park are not exactly what the doctor ordered for continued pitching dominance.
Both staffs are aligned pretty evenly, with four solid starters and one significantly struggling hurler. The bullpens also seem to tell a similar tale, littered with high FIPs and even scarier xFIPs. As bad as the Yankees' 'pen has been, Boston's might actually be even worse. If these games come down to the relievers, which they often do, it'll be interesting to see who breaks first.
The Yanks and Red Sox are completely unsurprisingly 1 and 2 in team wOBA. The primary disparity between the clubs is ERA, but the FIPs and xFIPs are pretty close. Obviously it would be great to see the Yanks take two of three again, but as with any series at Fenway Park, predictions (and expectations) are pretty futile.