On this episode of the Yanks Go Yard Series Preview Show, I started off the episode by talking about the New York Yankees’ previous series against the Toronto Blue Jays. On the last show, we talked about how the Yankees made a statement when they swept Toronto at Yankee Stadium. For this past series, it was the Jays who made a statement of their own, by taking two out of three. The Yankees were able to salvage the series behind a solid pitching performance from Hiroki Kuroda, another clutch home run by Mark Teixeira, and a five-out save by David Robertson to close out Wednesday’s win. Even in a series loss, the Yankees, at 40-37, are just three games back in the AL East. The team got to enjoy the day off on their captain, Derek Jeter‘s, 40th birthday. Now, the Yankees get set for a three-game series at Yankee Stadium against their hated rivals, the Boston Red Sox, who are eight games back of Toronto in the division.
As for the Red Sox (36-43), they have been a team that has struggled to score runs all season long. Boston is 25th in baseball in runs scored and 27th in slugging percentage, after being one of the best run-producing teams a season ago. Other than David Ortiz and his 18 home runs, this is an offense that has been lacking in the power department as well (59 total homers this year). One of the players the Red Sox will bring to Yankee Stadium that the Bronx Bombers haven’t seen this season is shortstop Stephen Drew. Drew is hitting an anemic .122 this season, and has fans thinking in hindsight whether or not Ben Cherington and company should have brought him back. The team has also missed lead-off hitter Shane Victorino, who has been out most of the season due to a pair of hamstring strains.
As for the pitching staff, Jon Lester (Saturday’s starter vs. Masahiro Tanaka), has improved as the months have gone on, considering that he is 3-1 with a 2.45 ERA in the month of June. While John Lackey has been a mainstay in the rotation, John Farrell has had to fill out the rotation with various guys, including Friday’s starter, Brandon Workman and young pitcher Rubby De La Rosa. The rotation did receive a boost when Clay Buchholz got a win in his return to the team on Wednesday night in Seattle. This is a bullpen still with one of the best closers in the game in Koji Uehara. Nevertheless, this is a team like the Yankees that has numerous problems to figure out if they want to make a run at the playoffs.
For this episode, I spoke with Sean Sylver, co-editor of BoSoxInjection.com to get his thoughts on the Red Sox’ offensive struggles this year. We also touched on the recent comments by David Ortiz about official scorers and whether or not this series has the feel of past Red Sox-Yankees match-ups. Here are some of the other topics we discussed on the show:
- Should the Red Sox have signed Stephen Drew?
- Xander Bogaerts‘ struggles at the plate this month
- David Ortiz making more noise off-the-field than on it.
- Impact of Buchholz’s return to the rotation
- Pitching Matchups
- Vidal Nuno (Friday’s Yankees’ starter) and his tendency to give up lots of homers at home
- Brandon Workman‘s future with Boston: starter or reliever?
- Why Lester vs. Tanaka (Part II) is setup to be a low-scoring game on Saturday
- Which John Lackey will show up on Sunday? (3rd start against NYY this season)
- Can Chase Whitley rebound after the first bad outing of his career this Sunday night?
- Red Sox’ Players To Watch (Sean: Daniel Nava and Brock Holt, Me: Mike Napoli and Dustin Pedroia)
- Yankees’ Players To Watch: Carlos Beltran and Brian McCann
- Will the Red Sox be buyers or sellers at the trade deadline in about a month?
- Sean’s thoughts on the AL East so far?