Jeff Karstens (0–0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (3–0, 1.50 ERA)
Hopefully, the Yanks have recovered from last night's disastrous loss quicker than I have. Jorge Posada hasn’t, he’s probably going to miss the rest of the series with a bruised thumb. My last thought on the game: That sucked. OK, time to turn the page.
The Yanks have extremely unfavorable pitching matchups for the final two games: Karstens vs. Beckett today, and Chase Wright vs. Matsuzaka tomorrow. Sox fans everywhere are counting those games as wins, but before we concede, let’s take a look at a couple of things.
Beckett is off to a 3–0 start, yes. But he’s pitched against three anemic offenses (LAA, SEA and KC). The last time Beckett pitched against the Yanks at Fenway he went 6.2 innings, and gave up 9 earned runs, walking 9. He’s also coming off a season in which he allowed 36 HRs. Matsuzaka has only beaten the lowly Royals, and lost to the Blue Jays and Mariners. He has yet to face a lineup with quality lefties, like the one the Yanks will throw at him tomorrow.
Anyway, the matchups are still bad, that’s just my attempt at a silver lining. The good news is that the Yanks should be able to get into the Sox pen, and that is a weak spot.
In a nutshell: The Yanks lineup will be depleted today. Nieves will be behind the plate, which makes the bottom of the Yanks lineup a little weak. Of course, the Sox bottom of the lineup is about as weak as it gets with Pedroia and Coco Crisp, so that’s a wash.
Keys to the game: Work. The. Count. Last night against Schilling, the Yanks needed to be aggressive and get him early in the count because Schilling has great control. Beckett does not. They need to get him into fastball counts and punish him. Expect balls to be flying out of the yard today. If the Yanks can Beckett out of the game in the fifth or sixth they’ll do damage against the pen.
The second, and probably most important thing for the Yanks is to get Mo into this game. Obviously, if he’s in the game it means they’re winning late, or at least tied, but beyond that, he’s pissed. Get him out there and let him dominate a game, it’ll get him back on track.
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