Boston. New York.
Red Sox. Yankees.
The age-old rivalry renews for yet another season. Tonight, the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees begin a four-game series that has rather large early season implications. Both teams stand at 4-5, but just a game behind first place Toronto. Winning this series 3-1 or even sweeping would be a huge bump in the right direction. Conversely, losing the series will drop one team deep into the cellar of the AL East.
Boston most recently took two of three from Texas, while the Yankees dropped a series at home against Baltimore. The indication is that things are on the upswing for the Red Sox. New York, meanwhile, is struggling to figure itself out. Again, this series could tell a whole lot about each.
Clay Buchholz had a rocky start in his first outing. He last just 4 1/3 innings and gave up six runs on 13 hits to the Brewers. His fastball was well below normal velocity and manager John Farrell attributed his bad outing to missing his spots. Location may have been a factor, but Buchholz hasn't looked the same since the back injury that kept him out for three months last season. If he can find his groove in Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox and all involved would be thrilled to see him get back on track.
Here's the Red Sox lineup for the opener in the Bronx (first pitch - 7:05 pm ET):
1) Sizemore, LF
2) Pedroia, 2B
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Nava, RF
6) Bogaerts, SS
7) Pierzynski, C
8) Bradley Jr., CF
9) Herrera, 3B
On the mound for the Yanks is Michael Pineda. He pitched great in his first outing since 2011, but suffered a loss to the Blue Jays. He gave up just one run on five hits with five striekouts in six innings. However, the Yankee offense didn't have their bats as they were shut out 4-0.
Familiar face in pinstripes
Off to a scorching start, Jacoby Ellsbury gets to face his former 'mates for the first time since leaving Boston for New York. Much was made of Ellsbury's signing with the Yankees and he hasn't disappointed. He carried a .414 average into Wednesday's game - although he went 0-for-4 and dropped his average to .364. Ellsbury (or is it Ellsubry?) also has four stolen bases and is batting in the middle of the Yankee lineup, hitting third tonight.
Big Papi pops off
The man, the myth, the legend that is Big Papi produced again. David Ortiz came up clutch again with a go-ahead three-run home run in the eighth inning to beat the Rangers 4-2. Ortiz is known for his heroics and continues to defy the odds.
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