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Andy Pettitte (3–4, 2.51 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (8–0, 2.65 ERA)

Assuming the weather gods cooperate (see Weather.com’s forecast for Boston above), tonight’s rubber game of the Yanks/Sox series will feature the best starting pitching showdown of the series. Josh Beckett comes in with an 8–0 record. I say he’s pitching over his head, others disagree. Pettitte has been the tough-luck, no-run-support, cautionary tale of the early season thus far. His 2.51 ERA ranks #1 among left-handers in the A.L. The Yankee bull pen has blown 4 wins for him, including a heart breaker in Boston back in April.

In a nutshell: All you hear from the Yankees is that they need to win series. String together a bunch of series wins and they’ll be OK. Well, tonight is their chance.

Keys to the game: Beckett has been more than impressive this season, and the key for him has been keeping the ball in the park. Last year, he led the league with 36 HRs given up. The Yanks have somehow found their power stroke recently, they need to continue this trend today. Pettitte needs to go deep, otherwise Joe will bring Vizcaino or Proctor in, either one is more than capable of blowing a lead. If Pettitte can get through six with the lead, Bruney, Farnsworth and Mo are available. I’m no fan of Farnsworth, but I think those three should be able to get the job done tonight. Let’s see the formula work, for once.

Fun stat of the day: Pettitte has yet to walk a leadoff hitter in an inning. This is a crucial stat, and also a big reason why his ERA is so low (2.51) even though his WHIP isn’t as impressive (1.31).

Sox blog-of-the-day: 38 Pitches. Check out Curt Schilling’s description of his crappy performance yesterday.

by Brian on Jun 3 2007