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Game 122: Heads or Trails--Yankees look to flip Penny and widen AL East gap

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Every time Andy Pettitte takes the mound, I'm reminded of the scene in Ransom when Gary Sinise asks Mel Gibson, "You're gonna have to ask yourself: Is today... Jimmy Shaker day?" Is today the day he throws near flawless ball and gets the W to show for it? Is today, August 21, Game 1 of the highly hyped Red Sox-NY series...Andy Pettitte day?

The last time the Yanks headed into a Boston series, they were playing half for division ground, but also half for their peace of mind, going overfeated against their rivals in the first 8 meetings. Now? They're marching into Fenway with a 6.5 game lead, and the hottest line-up and record in the league. And as far as pitching goes, well, the bad news is that Andy has the worst ERA of all 5 starters. The good news is that the worst ERA on the Yankees is 4.09.

For Boston, the bad news is that Brad Penny comes into tonight 0-3 with a 7.54 ERA in his last 4 starts. Good news is that his ERA in 2 starts against NY is 2.54. Even better news: Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez are hitless against him in 13 ABs. Victor Martinez, Jason Bay, and--ugh--J.D. Drew are exploding, but my money's still on our three-four bats outdoing them.

The scales of momentum may be nearing even balance, with both teams surging in their own rites. But by the time the game's over (whenever the hell that may be...cough..last Friday game vs Boston..cough), the edge will have shifted perceptibly. Fenway's been good to Boston, and away fields wear on the Yanks. The Sox better hope that that'll be enough tonight, because a losing series for them could mean 6.5 is the closest they'll ever be to us.

Or, to steal another line from "Ransom"..

"You think you're suffering right now? Huh?

You got no idea what suffering is."

Let's hope, anyway. Go Yanks.


Lineup

New York Yankees @ Boston Red Sox

08/21/09 7:10 PM EDT

New York Yankees Boston Red Sox
Derek Jeter - SS Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Johnny Damon - LF Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Mark Teixeira - 1B Victor Martinez - C
Alex Rodriguez - 3B Kevin Youkilis - 1B
Hideki Matsui - DH Jason Bay - LF
Jorge Posada - C David Ortiz - DH
Robinson Cano - 2B Mike Lowell - 3B
Nick Swisher - RF J.D. Drew - RF
Melky Cabrera - CF Alex Gonzalez - SS