Game 151: Yankees at Red Sox - Buch-ing the Yanks from the East race

Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

RedSoxLife took a day off from its normal pregame rituals yesterday to try to grow a beard. We figured, if it’s working for the Red Sox, then it must work for everyone!

Unfortunately, my beard grows at a sloth’s pace. I haven’t touched a razor in over a week and the five o’clock shadow is finally starting to show through. It doesn’t help that I’m blond and my beard doesn’t stand out, but nonetheless, we are putting in our efforts here at RedSoxLife to continue this awesomeness that is the Boston Red Sox 2013 season.

Tonight, on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the Red Sox (91-59) host the New York Yankees (79-70) for the final time this season. It will also mark the final time Mariano Rivera will be in Fenway Park as a Yankee pitcher. He hasn’t appeared in either of the previous two games this series, both Boston wins. My gut feeling is he will pitch tonight, regardless of the score, to be honored one final time by the best fans in baseball: Red Sox Nation. Also, during pregame, the Sox have a special ceremony planned, so if you’re headed to Fenway be sure to be in your seat by 7:30 pm.

As for the game, Clay Buchholz makes his second start since returning to the rotation. He gave up just three hits and one walk with no runs and six strikeouts in five innings in his return from the DL. Buchholz is 10-0 with a 1.61 ERA this year and could provide the Red Sox with the ace they’ve been searching for heading into the playoffs. A win over the Yankees tonight would officially eliminate New York from contention for the AL East division crown.

Here is the Red Sox lineup tonight (first pitch – 8:05 pm EDT):

1. Pedroia, 2B
2. Nava, RF
3. Ortiz, DH
4. Carp, LF
5. Napoli, 1B
6. Saltalamacchia, C
7. Drew, SS
8. Bogaerts, 3B
9. Bradley Jr., CF

Buchholz, P

One of the Yanks’ better pitchers this year, Ivan Nova, starts tonight. He is 8-4 with a 3.17 ERA and gave up three earned runs on five hits in just four innings last week against Boston. He allowed another four runs in six innings against Baltimore in his most recent start.

In case you missed it
What has gotten lost in the shuffle of all this beards and winning stuff is the fact that several extremely talented young players are getting unbelievably valuable playing experience at a crucial time of the year. To boot, they are producing and will likely be a part of the run toward a potential World Series. Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Will Middlebrooks have been everyday players in the lineup and pitchers Drake Britton and Brandon Workman have been mainstays in the bullpen, among others like Rubby De La Rosa and Pedro Beato. The Red Sox have a bright future ahead, there’s no questioning that, but for these players to get the kind of playing time at this stage in their careers is priceless.

Final mini-season starts tonight
In what I term mini-seasons – or 10-game stretches – the Red Sox have been outstanding. For those late to the game, we broke down the season into “mini-seasons” – 15 seasons of 10 games and one final season of 12 games. The Sox have posted back-to-back 8-2 weeks, bolstering their chances at the playoffs, an AL East division title and the best record in the American League. Quite a different September from the previous two seasons. Here is how the Sox have done this year:

1) 6-4
2) 7-3
3) 7-3
4) 3-7
5) 7-3
6) 6-4
7) 6-4
8) 5-5
9) 7-3
10) 6-4
11) 6-4
12) 5-5
13) 4-6
14) 8-2
15) 8-2

As you can see, the Red Sox are 11-2-2, meaning 11 winning mini-seasons, two losing mini-seasons and two even (.500) mini-seasons.

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

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