Game 98: Yankees at Red Sox - Second half opens with a bang

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

After a brief hiatus for the MLB All-Star Game, baseball at its highest level is back. And there is no better way to welcome back our beloved game than with the greatest rivalry in sports.

The Boston Red Sox (58-39), leaders of the American League and owners of the most wins in MLB, host the New York Yankees (51-44) for the first time at Fenway Park this season. The Sox have taken 2-of-3 twice in the Bronx and these two teams are set to tangle 13 times over the next two-plus months, with nine games in Boston. The Red Sox have just 65 games remaining, thus the Yankees comprise of over one-sixth of their remaining schedule. It all begins tonight, as the Red Sox look to continue their winning ways in the second half of the season. New York is already six games back in the AL East, meaning the Red Sox could start the downward spiral of the Yanks this second half.

Felix Doubront takes the mound tonight for the Red Sox. Doubront is 6-3 with a 3.91 ERA and has slowly become one of the more consistent pitchers in Boston’s rotation. Over his last 11 starts, Doubront has a 2.70 ERA while holding opponents to a .220 batting average. Against the Yankees, Doubront has a 2.52 ERA in nine games (five starts).

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 7:05 pm EDT):

1. Ellsbury, CF
2. Victorino, RF
3. Pedroia, 2B
4. Ortiz, DH
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Gomes, LF
7. Saltalamacchia, C
8. Snyder, 3B
9. Iglesias, SS

Doubront, P

Veteran left-hander Andy Pettitte starts for the Evil Empire tonight. He is 7-6 with a 4.39 ERA and the 41-year-old has shown he is still capable of producing on the bump, but has struggled recently. He came off the DL June 3 and has a 4.96 ERA in eight starts since with opponents hitting .301 against him. In his last start, he allowed four runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings against the Royals.

Not your daddy’s Yankees
No Derek Jeter. No Alex Rodriguez. No Curtis Granderson. Perhaps no Robinson Cano. These Yankees look and sound like the 2012 Red Sox – a bunch of no-name guys filling in spots for injured studs. Outside of the pitching staff, which the Red Sox will see Pettitte, Hiroki Kuroda and C.C. Sabathia, the Yankees are lacking the pop and sizzle in their lineup we are accustomed to seeing.

Home sweet home
The Red Sox play 13 of their next 16 games at Fenway Park. They have a 31-16 record at the friendly confines this season. The Sox open with this three-game series against New York before welcoming the Rays to Fenway for four games. After that, Boston heads to Baltimore for three games, meaning the Sox first 10 games after the break come against members of the East, all who are within six games of the Sox. Seattle and Arizona come to Fenway to close out the home-stand.

Let us know what you think about tonight’s game by commenting below.

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