Pitching matchups for the Rays series
The series that Joe Girardi called the two most important games of the Yankees’ season:
Tonight: LHP Scott Kazmir (7-3, 2.63) vs. LHP Andy Pettitte (9-6, 4.22)
Rays: The Rays ace had a career May,
but has struggled in his last few appearances. Kazmir admitted his
slider and changeup weren’t up to par in a five-inning appearance June
27 at Pittsburgh, and he didn’t fare much better vs. the Red Sox on
Wednesday night. Kazmir threw 107 pitches in five innings and gave up a
season-high seven hits. The reigning American League strikeout king
matched his season-low by fanning three Sox batters and will look to
reestablish his dominance vs. the Yankees. Kazmir won a May 15 contest
in New York, delivering six shutout innings en route to a 5-1 Rays win,
and will face the Yankees for the second time this season.
The Yankees’ sharpest pitcher since early June, Pettitte was off his
game in the opener of a four-game set with the Red Sox on Thursday,
allowing five earned runs on nine hits in 4 2/3 innings to take his
first loss since May 17. The loss prompted a closed-door meeting led by
manager Joe Girardi.
Wednesday: RHP Edwin Jackson (5-6, 4.08) vs. RHP Sidney Ponson (5-1, 4.19)
Rays: Jackson pitched masterfully on
Friday, holding the Royals to two runs on four hits in eight innings.
The 24-year-old right-hander faced the minimum through six innings en
route to his fifth win of the season. If Jackson is locating his 97-mph
fastball, his other pitches can work well, particularly his slider.
Jackson is 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA in 10 career appearances against the
Yankees and is 2-1 with a 3.44 ERA in five career appearances at Yankee
Yankees: Ponson struggled against his former Texas club Wednesday
night, giving up seven runs and nine hits through five-plus innings.
The seven runs matched his season high in runs allowed, and Ponson
surrendered two home runs in the sixth inning before exiting the game.
The right-hander recorded just one strikeout and gave up two separate
leads before a New York rally gave him a no-decision. Ponson said he
felt good physically through all his pitches, but the mechanics weren’t