With the exception of a dominant starting pitching performance, the last four games have given Yankee fans everything they could have hoped for coming into the five-game showdown with the Red Sox that concludes this afternoon. So what’s left for the finale? After the last four games, I wouldn’t rule anything out, though I’d like to rule out a Red Sox victory.
Cory Lidle, who was activated from the bereavement list yesterday with T.J. Beam returning to Columbus, makes his fourth Yankee start. David Wells takes the hill for the Sox. Wells has spent most of the season on the disabled list with a right knee injury. In fact, he made just two starts prior to his most recent activation at the end of July. Since then he’s taken four turns, the first of which was rough, but the last three of which have been solid. In fact, the 43-year-old Wells looks to be more or less up to his old tricks, surrendering a ton of hits but very few walks and emerging with a 2-1 record and a 2.75 ERA over those three starts.
Joe Torre is sending out a day-game-after-a-extra-inning-night-game/house money line-up against the big lefty, with last night’s heroes Jason Giambi and Jorge Posada, as well as series MVP Johnny Damon, getting the day off, Derek Jeter taking a turn at DH, and Nick Green, Bernie Williams and Sal Fasano in the line-up and in the field. Bernie is a career .211/.256/.355 hitter against Wells and Green and Fasano are a combined 2 for 20 career against Boomer. Melky Cabrera, whose lead-off double against Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth last night was as big as any of the other hits in the game, will lead off.
The Red Sox counter with their usual starting nine, but with Eric Hinske replacing Kevin Youkilis at first base. The Sox, who demoted Jermain Van Buren after his poor performance on Saturday in favor of former Rockies hurler Javier Lopez, have also made yet another move in their bullpen, sending down last night’s loser Craig Hansen and promoting former Texas Ranger Bryan Corey. It is the fourth time in as many days that they’ve shuffled relievers.