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4. Right now, Terry Francona has stated Erik Bedard is not pitching Sunday? After Lester and Wakefield this weekend, who would you pitch on Sunday and why?

I keep praying and waiting for the announcement to hear that Pedro Martinez is coming out of retirement and will join the rotation this Sunday!  No seriously, that’s how little confidence I have in trying to name anybody to take that Sunday hole.  My first choice is Bedard but because he’s been ruled out I don’t think it matters who you start.  Kyle Weiland and Andrew Miller have both been awful this month and John Lackey, well, I’ve given up on Lackey. It took me five months, but I’m officially done with him.  I hope he goes out Sunday and turns in a quality start, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it.

 

If I have to pick one I’m going with Alfredo Aceves out of the bullpen to make a spot start.  He’s been the most consistent arm the Red Sox have had over the past couple weeks and he’s proven earlier this year that he can handle a spot start and succeed with it.  Sadly though, I think Francona will go with Lackey, so chalk up at least one loss.

5. If the Red Sox are going to right the ship in New York, who will be the X-Factor in the series that propels them forward

It has to be the usual suspects; Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia.  When those two leadoff guys are going, the Red Sox are a different team.  They create things on the base paths and force pitchers to have to pitch to Gonzalez and Ortiz.  I will look for Pedroia to once again lead this team and he’ll do it by example on the field.  He knows what needs to be done and for the past four years he’s been the one constant to go out and carry this team to victory.

 

6. Break down the pitching matchups and tell me who will win the series and why?
Friday – Lester vs. Garcia – I like the Sox in this game based on history.  Typically, Jon Lester is brilliant in September and despite one bad outing this month, he’s been pretty good.  So I’m looking for a big outing from him.  The other history I like is how well the Red Sox have hit Garcia, not only in New York but also when he was with Chicago.

Saturday – Wakefield vs. Burnett – this could be and most likely will be a shootout at the OK Corral which could go either way.  With a lineup card that doesn’t have all the regulars from the Yankees, I’ll give the advantage to the desperate Red Sox.

Sunday – Lackey vs. Nova – mail this one in now.  It’s over before it even starts and really shouldn’t even be played.  Lackey sucks, plain and simple and Nova is a brilliant kid who has looked great this year.  Yankees win a laugher on Sunday.

Of course I’m basing the two Red Sox wins on the history of how well this team has played prior to September and not how they’ve been playing lately.  I think the team needs a good, emotional series against the Yankees.  But should the lifeless Red Sox team that has occupied their clubhouse for all of September then this series will be a Yankees sweep and the Wild Card will be just a dream.

7. The ultimate prediction. Will Boston collapse and miss the playoffs?

I see the Red Sox getting into the playoffs, all be it limping in.  Thanks to the Yankees, the magic number is four.  They have a two game lead with six games left and I continue to remain positive that this club will right the ship in the final six games and get to October on a high note.  An off day on Thursday will serve this club well and give everyone a chance to regroup and give them a break from having to answer the same questions they’ve been answering for over a week now.  There are six games left and Beckett and Lester will pitch in at least two of them, probably three.  Win two of those games and suddenly the pressure is all on Tampa Bay and LA to win five of their last six.  Just get into the playoffs I think and as San Francisco proved last year, anything can happen.

Here is the podcast for the weekend:

Red Sox-Yankees September Preview

 

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