Baseball is a game of numbers and symmetry, making this weekend's Yankees-Red Sox series a real treat. Each team has played exactly 110 games and both teams have won 68 of them. A flat-footed tie in the AL East with the Bombers coming to Fenway. Good times indeed.
Of course, there hasn't been anything even about the head-to-head battle between these two rivals in 2011. The Red Sox are 8-1 against the Yankees in the season's first three series. This has led to a lot of comparisons to the 2009 season, when the Red Sox won eight straight games to begin that season before the Yankees closed strong to knot the series at 9-9.
It will be more difficult for the Yankees to pull off that feat in 2011. For starters, Boston is better than its 2009 version and only a real optimist would say this Yankees team has the depth and talent of that World Series squad. These current teams are very evenly matched.
"[The fact that] we have not pitched as well against them is probably the biggest thing, for whatever reason," Joe Girardi said. "We were in this spot in 2009. We went through this. I don't necessarily like to compare years, but this is a confident club. Let's just see what happens."
As has been the case all season, Boston has the advantage in pitching matchups in the series. Tonight begins with Bartolo Colon vs. Jon Lester. The Yankees have a big edge in Saturday's CC Sabathia-John Lackey tilt, but the Red Sox are favorites again in Sunday's Josh Beckett-Freddy Garcia closer.
Riding a seven-game win streak, the Yankees are hot, and they can really put the heat on Boston with a big performance tonight. Colon has certainly proven he's capable of big performances, but can he step up in a series as big as this? Colon has taken losses both times he's faced Boston this year (once as a starter, once as a reliever), but he's pitched well, allowing just three earned runs in 10 1/3 innings, striking out nine and walking four.
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