Well, the results are in from the informal poll which took place in the comments on this blog over the past 18 hours or so, and it appears as though Roger Clemens will deliver payback tonight. The target: David Ortiz.
The stars have aligned. The Yankees have a pitcher on the hill who delights in evening the beanball score. Manny is out with a bad back, so Mike Lowell will be batting behind Ortiz. Julio Lugo is leading off, so he won't be on base when Ortiz comes up in the first inning. And Ortiz has a bum knee, so he probably won't be able to get out of the way. The beauty of the situation is that Clemens gets right of first refusal. He's on the mound first, if he plunks Ortiz there's no way he can be thrown out. Worst-case, both teams get warned.
Whether Josh Beckett decides to get even for Clemens getting even remains to be seen. But as far as we're concerned (by we I mean myself and the commenting community on this blog), a Sox batter getting plunked tonight is a virtual lock. Personally, I hope it's Ortiz (he's never been hit by a Yankee pitcher) and if you're going to retaliate, it should be "You hit our best, we're hitting your best."
So if you're tuning in to see Clemens pitch a perfect game, I'm sorry to disappoint. You're going to have to settle for some bad blood, maybe a brisk jog in from the bullpen for the relievers, gratuitous posturing and hopefully a Yankee win.
Giambi is in the lineup at first (his career numbers vs. Beckett are sick), otherwise it's the same lineup as last night.
Skidmark is being paid a king's ransom to come up big in big games. They don't get much bigger than this in August, we'll see how he does. Everyone but Joba is available out of the pen.UPDATE [5:30 p.m.]:
Seattle is losing 2-1 to the Angels as I leave work. This Yankee game could be for a share of the WC lead.