"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Boston Red Sox VI: It’s All Over But The Shouting Edition

The Yankees can hand the AL East to the Rays by beating the Red Sox at Fenway tonight, and Joe Girardi has all of his starters in the lineup behind Alfredo Aceves to get the job done. As the Wild Card, the Red Sox would draw the Angels in the ALDS. Boston went 1-8 against the Halos this season.

Aceves has posted a 1.42 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP in his three previous major league starts, all Yankee wins, and pitched at least six full innings in each without once reaching 90 pitches. Given that, he could get away with a stinker tonight and still enter spring training in the mix for the 2009 rotation. After facing Boston tonight, he’ll have faced three contenders in his four starts (also the Angels and White Sox). If he has another good outing, he might just go from being “in the mix” to being penciled in.

The Sox are slowly getting back up to health for the postseason. Mike Lowell, J.D. Drew, Sean Casey, Josh Beckett, and David Aardsma have all come off the DL in recent weeks, though Lowell and Drew are both still nursing their injuries (a torn hip labrum that will require offseason surgery and a stiff lower back, respectively). They’ll continue to be careful with their players, particularly given the rain that’s expected on the east coast this weekend, but will likely also want to get Lowell and Drew enough swings to feel comfortable heading in to the ALDS. Indeed, Lowell will DH tonight (with David Ortiz playing first base in presumptuous preparation for the World Series), while Drew continues to rest.

Speaking of that rain, there’s a chance it could wash out Mike Mussina’s opportunity to try for his 20th win of the season on Sunday, as there would be no need to play that game if the Rays clinch the division tonight or tomorrow. That said, the rain is expected to taper off come Sunday, and the Red Sox have rescheduled the retiring of Johnny Pesky’s number (6) until Sunday based on that forecast. Even if tonight or tomorrow’s game gets rained out and thus outright canceled, Moose will still go on Sunday, though given his history of near misses (including a memorable one in Fenway in 2001), one could imagine any number of Sunday scenarios that would bring Mussina thisclose to number 20 but leave him stuck at 19 for the third time in his career.

Oh, and if this series feels weird, it’s because the last time the Yankees faced a playoff-bound Red Sox team after being eliminated from the postseason themselves was September 21 to 23, 1990. The last time the Yankees faced a playoff-bound Red Sox team at Fenway Park after being eliminated from the postseason themselves was October 2 to 5, 1986.

Boston Red Sox

2008 Record: 94-65 (.591)
2008 Pythagorean Record: 97-62 (.609)

Manager: Terry Francona
General Manager: Theo Epstein

Home Ballpark (multi-year Park Factors): Fenway Park (106/105)

Who’s Replaced Whom:

Everyone’s still here from last time.

25-man Roster:

1B – Kevin Youkilis (R)
2B – Dustin Pedroia (R)
SS – Jed Lowrie (S)
3B – Mike Lowell (R)
C – Jason Varitek (S)
RF – Jacoby Ellsbury (L)
CF – Coco Crisp (S)
LF – Jason Bay (R)
DH – David Ortiz (L)


L – Mark Kotsay (OF)
L – Sean Casey (1B)
L – Alex Cora (IF)
R – Jeff Bailey (1B/OF)
R – Kevin Cash (C)
R – David Ross (C)
L – Chris Carter (1B)*
L – Jonathan Van Every (OF)*
R – Gil Valezquez (IF)*
L – George Kottaras (C)*
L – J.D. Drew (RF)**


R – Josh Beckett
R – Tim Wakefield
R – Paul Byrd
L – Jon Lester
R – Daisuke Matsuzaka


R – Jon Papelbon
L – Hideki Okajima
R – Manny Delcarmen
L – Javier Lopez
R – Mike Timlin
R – Justin Masterson
R – David Pauley
R – David Aardsma**
R – Chris Smith*
*September call-up **Activated from DL

60-day DL: R – Julio Lugo (SS), R – Curt Schilling
Restricted List: R – Bartolo Colon

Typical Lineup:

L – Jacoby Ellsbury (RF)
R – Dustin Pedroia (2B)
L – David Ortiz (DH)
R – Kevin Youkilis (3B)
R – Jason Bay (LF)
R – Mike Lowell (3B)
S – Jed Lowrie (SS)
S – Jason Varitek (C)
S – Coco Crisp (CF)

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Thread  Series Preview

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver