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Yankees lineup vs. Red Sox: Bombers' hunt for October continues

With serious playoff implications, the Yankees send possibly their best starter to the mound against their biggest rival in a series that could be must-win for the Bombers.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sport

Coming off a sweep of the Chicago White Sox last night, the Yankees have a tougher hill to climb as they welcome the AL East-leading Red Sox to Yankee Stadium for an important four-game set. If the Yankees can win the series, their playoff chances may look better than they have to this point. If they lose the series, they might find themselves out of realistic contention. Sending Ivan Nova to the mound in Game One is certainly a good start if he can continue to pitch the way he has of late.

Pretty standard stuff here with Curtis Granderson taking the DH spot and Alfonso Soriano heading back to the outfield after they were swapped for last night's game. Unfortunately, Chris Stewart has also found his way into the lineup. This series might amount to do-or-die for the Yankees and they need to have all hands on deck. At catcher, that means anyone other than Stewart. Not sure why that's difficult to understand.

Soriano's bat has already contributed as much as anyone could have hoped after he came over from the Cubs before the trade deadline. He happens to be the Yankee with the most home run success off Boston starter Jake Peavy with three career dingers to go along with three doubles. Granderson, Robinson Cano, and Alex Rodriguez each have hit one home run a piece off Peavy. Soriano, Granderson, and Cano all have .900+ OPS marks for their career, which hopefully means that they can continue to hit the right-hander well.

Nova is coming off a fantastic August that saw him go 4-0 with a 2.08 ERA in 43.1 innings. With inconsistency a problem in other spots in the rotation, the Yankees need Nova to continue to be consistently strong in his performance. His resurgence this year has been amazing to watch and keeping it going against a big rival in a huge series with playoff implications would make it all the more sweet.

The last time these two teams met was the infamous A-Rod plunking incident. Ryan Dempster and Joe Girardi were both fined for their actions on the field that night, but there was no gentlemen's payback from Yankee pitchers. Keep an eye on that in this series to see if Girardi stays true to his words from that night that someone would get hit, particularly if the Yankees find themselves in a blowout. Revenge is a dish best served chilled with victory, however.

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