The Yankees have had a relatively good season considering the fact that no team in recent memory has had so many injuries to their best players. Mark Teixeira is out for the season. Curtis Granderson played only eight games before suffering an injury and hasn’t returned since. The long-awaited return of Derek Jeter was added disappointment as the Captain ended up right back on the DL after only a week. Alex Rodriguez continues to be a sideshow that the Yankees are contractually stuck with.
Despite all of these injuries, the Yankees still sit at an impressive 51-44. However, they have given up more runs than they have scored and have never been as vulnerable. The Red Sox have a great opportunity to start the second half with a sweep at home and bury their traditional rival deep in the standings.
Let’s examine why this team is so beatable right now.
The Red Sox cleanup hitter tonight is David Ortiz. He’s one of the hottest and most dangerous hitters in MLB. The Yankees cleanup hitter is Vernon Wells. Yes, Vernon Wells. In June and July, Wells hit under .200, has no home runs and just 12 RBI. And he’s hitting cleanup?
The rest of the lineup isn’t much better. Ichiro Suzuki is barely an MLB player right now and he’s hitting second. Robinson Cano is the only player of any value the Red Sox will see this weekend. Ever heard of Zoilo Almonte? Me neither. Luckily he’s hitting fifth for the pinstripes tonight. He’ll be followed by the legendary Brent Lillibridge, Eduardo Nunez and Chris Stewart. There isn’t a lineup in baseball that should be easier for the Red Sox pitching to work through.
The only hope the Yankees have in this series is with their starting pitching. Andy Pettitte goes tonight. Despite his age, he is still effective against the Red Sox. Their best pitcher right now is Hideki Kuroda. Unfortunately for them, he has to go against Boston’s best pitcher John Lackey. In the finale, C.C. Sabathia faces Jon Lester. Both pitchers have a lot to prove, but Lester could make a bold statement by finishing off the three-game sweep.
If the Red Sox can sweep the Yankees this series, they will be nine games in back of the Red Sox with just over 60 games to play. It’s the perfect opportunity for them to start the second half with a bang and firmly show that the Yankees have become the little brother in this series.