Saturday night was a tough game for the Yankees. They had their best pitcher on the mound, Masahiro Tanaka, and he pitched an incredible game making only two mistakes that wound up costing him. The Yankee offense really struggled against Jon Lester Saturday night and put together a weak effort against closer Koji Uehara. Tanaka can only do so much in his starts; the Yankees need to start supplying him with some run support.
Rookie right hander Chase Whitley (3-1 4.07 ERA) takes the mound for the Yankees on Sunday as they try to win the series against bitter rival Boston. Whitley is looking to bounce back from his worst career start last time out as he was tagged for eight earned runs on eleven hits in just 3.1 innings.
The righty has been reliable this year up until last week, but the last time out his command just wasn’t there. What made him so effective previously was his ability to throw pitches exactly where he wanted to. He nearly doubled his season total for walks allowed last game when he walked three Blue Jay batters. Boston will be a good test for Whitley as teams are starting to have a better scouting report on the relatively unknown rookie.
On the mound for the Red Sox will be veteran John Lackey (8-5 3.45 ERA) who is also coming off his worst start of the season. Last time out, Lackey was roughed up in Seattle for seven runs on seven hits in just 3.2 innings. Before his last start, Lackey had looked like he had found the fountain of youth as he had not given up more than three runs in a game since May 17th. Lackey has faced the Yankees twice already this season, one where he looked terrible (six runs on ten hits) and one where he was dominant (eight innings of one run baseball while striking out eleven).
What to Watch For…
Ellsbury’s Success Against Former Team: Jacoby Ellsbury continues to remind Boston who they are missing in center field as he has crushed the ball against his former team. In nine games, Ellsbury is hitting .361 with six doubles, a triple, and six RBI’s.
Tex vs. Lackey: Mark Teixeira is a career .300 hitter against John Lackey. In 70 at-bats, the switch hitter has three doubles, two home runs, and 13 RBI’s.
Bullpen Shutting the Door: In their last four games, Yankee relievers have allowed just one unearned run. Over that span, the bullpen has given up just seven hits in 13.2 innings while striking out 16.