At the beginning of this year myself and many others said the rivalry between these teams was just about over. Boy were we wrong as these teams now top the AL East with a two game split coming into the series as the Sox look to extend their division lead while the Yankees want to close the gap. Friday will be the first game of a three game set between these AL East teams and both come in with many injuries but none the less this will be a great series to watch! When these teams met opening week the Sox dominated the series getting the sweep but a lot has changed between now and then. Boston and New York will face off 16 more times, and with the clubs in contention, each game could have an impact on postseason chances

 

Game 1: Jon Lester (6-1) vs. CC Sabathia (4-4)

Let me take you back to opening day of the season. Teams with fresh lineups and pitchers ready to roar. Jon Lester took the mound in New York against the strong CC Sabathia. This day went the Sox way. In this game the Sox took the win 8-2 with 4 runs on Sabathia over 5 innings pitched. Lester on the other hand was great also going 5 innings with 5 hits and 2 runs allowed. Though Lester has been strong to begin the season at 6-1 his ERA has reached over 6 through the past two games and is looking to bounce back tonight. After going his first seven starts without allowing more than six hits, Lester has allowed at least seven in each of his Past three games. The lefty is still giving the Sox a chance to win; they've lost just three of his 11 starts. He'll face a Yankees lineup that is finally starting to get healthy. First baseman Mark Teixeira, recovering from a tendon injury in his wrist, and third baseman Kevin Youkilis, who was suffering from back stiffness, made their second rehabilitation appearances with Double-A Trenton on Thursday night and are scheduled to rejoin the big league lineup Friday. Sabathia on the other hand is off to an average start at 4-4. In his last start versus the Rays Sabathia was absolutely rocked going 7 innings with 7 runs allowed. He finished the month of May 0-2 with a 4.85 ERA in five starts, as opponents hit .302 against him. Sabathia will face some solid Sox hitters including David Ortiz and the speedy Jacoby Ellsbury who has been stealing bases like it is effortless this past week. Of the Red Sox's 22 losses, 13 have been decided by two runs or fewer, including five of their last six defeats.

 

Prediction: Red Sox win 6-3

 

Game 2: Felix Doubront (3-2) vs. Phil Hughes (2-3)

Well Sox fans, game 1 was not our strongest game lately. Sabathia had the Sox swinging at everything inside and out of the strike zone. After a rough start to the season, Doubront seems to have turned the corner and will be given the ball for game 2 of these series Saturday night. He's given up two earned runs in each of his previous three starts with a 3.18 ERA. Opponents are batting .210 against him in that timeframe. Against this Yankee squad he has absolutely demolished them. Especially one key batter, Robinson Cano has faced Felix 11 times and still has been sent back to the dugout every single time. Same goes for Hafner and Gardner in their at-bats versus Doubront. "I think it's been very clear that the action to his secondary stuff, the finish to his curveball has been better," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "He feels more confident about himself just in the way he speaks when you have conversations with him. To me, the responses are probably a window into the inside of how he feels internally about himself, and over the last three starts, that's been much improved." In four starts versus the Yankees, Doubront sits at 1-1. The Yankees will give the ball to Phil Hughes tonight as he hopes to get back to .500 and tie the division up. After failing to escape the first inning on May 15 vs. Seattle, Hughes has allowed three runs in 13 innings (2.08 ERA) over two starts against the Orioles and Mets. He was 3-1 with a 2.03 ERA vs. Boston last year. Mark Teixeira and Kevin Youkilis joined the New York lineup against Boston on Friday night, and as the two veterans take their place in the heart of the batting order, the American League is finally getting a glimpse of the team manager Joe Girardi and general manager Brian Cashman envisioned entering the season. The Yankees are still not the best they can be at this point as they wait for the return of other veterans but still look like the regular old Yankees. Tough to beat.

Prediction: Red Sox win 6-5

 

Game 3: Clay Buchholz (7-0) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (6-3) 

YES NAPOLI! YES NAVA! AND YES STEPHEN DREW! These three men put on a stellar performance last night as the Sox crushed the Yanks 11-1! Bring back Jeter, bring back A-Rod and whoever else! These Red Sox are ready! For Sunday's final game the Yankees will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound to face the buzzed Red Sox hitters.  "Kuroda's been really good the two years that we've had him," Girardi said. "He's been very consistent, and you feel like you're always going to have a chance to win, so we get excited when he goes out there." Kuroda dueled with Mets right-hander Matt Harvey on Tuesday, allowing just four hits in seven scoreless innings. However, Kuroda was left with a no-decision when Mariano Rivera blew his first save of the season. Coming off a 11 day rest after missing his last start one of the best in the business will be sent to the mound for the Sox. Some people take the "la" out of his name to just say Cy Buchholz as he has been a canidate so far this season. The right-hander was scratched from his last start because of irritation in his AC joint near the collarbone. He's thrown a bullpen session with no lingering soreness or irritation and manager John Farrell said Buchholz will not operate under a pitch count. He has started the season 7-0 with an ERA at 1.73. Ellsbury will most likely take tonight off again but it was great to watch Bradley Jr. last night go 3-5 with some very good at-bats! Come on Giradi bring on your Yanks! Doubront was untouchable last night but tonight we are bringing the heat! 

 

Prediction: Red Sox win 7-3 as Buchholz goes 7+ innings strong! Ortiz will hit a long-bomb as well tonight!