GAME TWO PREDICTION
The Yankees proved their recent four-game sweep of the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium two weeks ago was not a fluke. On Friday night they pounded Brad Penny and Michael Bowden for 15 runs over six innings en route to a 20-11 victory at Fenway Park.
I do not like to brag but I think my Game 1 prediction was right on the mark:
“The Red Sox will have to hope that Penny can, at least, keep the Red Sox in the game long enough for their hitters to solve Pettitte and his newly rediscovered cutter. If not, it could be a long night for the Bosox.
If Pettitte settles in while the Yankees pound Penny, the game could be over early.”
Now will see if my crystal ball is still working for Game Two.
GAME TWO: Burnett vs. Tazawa
The pitching matchup is grossly one-sided. A.J. Burnett, when he is on his game, is simply nasty to face. His fastball is 96 mph and he has a devastating slider and curveball to go with it. He matched Josh Beckett pitch-for-pitch in a classic Aug. 7 matchup at Yankee Stadium. The game ended in 15 innings with the Yankees winning 2-0.
One thing Red Sox manager Terry Francona usually does before series with the Yankees is to stagger his rotation in such a way to make sure his best starters face the Yankees. Leading into this series, Francona did not do it.
As a result, Penny and rookie Junichi Tazawa are pitching the critical first two games. Why? Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz might have been wiser choices now considering what happened to Penny and what is facing Tazawa.
THE GAME PLAN
The Red Sox had better hope that Burnett pitches like he did on June 9 at Fenway Park when Beckett beat him 7-0. If not. it could be a long and somber afternoon for Red Sox Nation. The Yankees are simply too hot not to be able to get to Tazawa.
It might not be as bad the beatdown they gave Penny, but it could be close today. Tazawa was unable to contain the hard-hitting Rangers last Sunday so there is no expectation he will be able to keep the Yankees off the board for long.
The question is will he be able to contain the damage enough to keep the Red Sox in it.
I am saying Tazawa likely will be able to do that, at least. But I think Burnett and Yankees bullpen will be able to keep the Red Sox from nettlesome rallies this afternoon, too.
I see a game that may end up with a 7-2 score. The Yankees win the series and will be just one game from ending all Red Sox hopes of first place in the AL East.