6/9 – Yankees at Red Sox
Greetings from Fenway Park in Boston, Mass. — jump in on the game discussion thread below as the Yankees try to snap their 0-5 skid against the Red Sox:
A.J. Burnett (4-2, 4.69)
RED SOX (33-24)
Josh Beckett (6-2, 4.09)
FROM THE CLUBHOUSE
Just how long Phil Hughes remains as a reliever for the Yankees might be tied to Brian Bruney’s looming return. Joe Girardi said this afternoon that he is not afraid to use Hughes in pressurized situations late in games, but the fact is, the longer the Yankees keep Hughes in the big leagues as a reliever, the less likely he is to be able to step in as a starter should they need that at some point. It’s a delicate balancing act, but right now, with Bruney out and Damaso Marte basically MIA, it’s something they feel they need.
Here’s Girardi: “It is tricky. We’ll take it week by week, month by month, or however we’re going to do it. The important thing is he’s here to pitch important innings for us. We believe that he’s valuable to us. If he’s lights-out in the bullpen, do you make a change? I don’t know. That’s something that we’re going to have to continue to evaluate. But we do like having him down there right now.
“The other concern is, do we have another starter down in Triple-A if something was to happen to one of our starters? That’s another concern that we have as well. It’s kind of weighing the pluses and minuses of having him here and not having him here. Right now, we think the plus of having him here is more important.”
Johnny Damon gets a partial night off as the designated hitter, and Nick Swisher went to him for some advice on how to patrol the Green Monster. Hideki Matsui is badly scuffling, tying a career high with no hits in his last 16 at-bats.
FROM THE GAME NOTES
Tonight the Yankees play the first game of a three-game series at Boston after a 5-3 victory on Monday over Tampa Bay…the Yankees took over first place in the AL East on Sunday and currently have a 1.0-game lead over the Red Sox (33-24)…have won 19 of their last 25 games, including a season-high nine-game winning streak (5/13-21), which started the stretch…are a season-high 11 games over .500 and have the best record in the AL…went 4-2 on their just-completed, rain-shortened six-game homestand vs. Texas (2-1) and Tampa Bay (2-1)…have won 12 of their last 16 home games (since 5/15), outscoring their opponents 97-68 over the span…following this series the Yankees return home for a six-game Interleague homestand with three games vs. the Mets (Friday-Sunday) and three vs. Washington (6/16-18)…will play 12 of their next 18 games on the road.
The Yankees have lost the first five games of this season’s matchup with Boston and have dropped six consecutive games against the Red Sox dating back to last season…according to the Elias Sports Bureau, this season marks just the third time in the history of the rivalry that the Yankees have lost their first five games of the season against the Red Sox – also 1985 (lost first five) and 1912 (lost first 14)…the Yankees’ current six-game slide is their longest against Boston since dropping six straight from 9/17/06-4/27/07…have not lost seven straight games vs. Boston since a seven-game losing streak from 9/15/84-4/24/85.
The Yankees enter play today in first place in the American League East ahead of Boston by 1.0 game…initially took over first place at the conclusion of play on 5/29 for the first time this late in a season since the final day of the 2006 season.
– Marks the first time the Yankees have begun a series at Fenway Park with sole possession of first place in the AL East since August 2006 when they swept a five-game series at Boston (8/18-21/06) to increase their lead in the Division from 1.5G to 6.5G.
– According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Yankees have won the AL East each of the last six times they had at least a share of the division lead entering June (1996, ’98, 2001, ’03-04, 06)…the last time they failed to capture the East after being in first place on the morning of 6/1 was in 1988.