A week ago, the New York Yankees were flying high, well entrenched in first place with a two-game lead on the rival Boston Red Sox. Then the Yankees traveled across town to play the rival New York Mets for the start of a home and home Subway Series. Since then, the Yankees have lost five in a row, and were swept in both series against the Mets, highlighted by Mariano Rivera‘s first blown save of the season.
The Boston Red Sox have been playing solid baseball under first year manager John Farrell, and since the return of David Ortiz to the lineup, have looked like a different team than the one that bristled under the iron fist and loud mouth of former skipper Bobby Valentine. Practically the same roster is intact since last season, but a return to the more relaxed approach under former manager Terry Francona, has the Red Sox playing their best baseball in three seasons, and take a 2 1/2 lead into the Bronx for a crucial three game set.
The Yankees have been playing well above expectations, as they have been decimated by injuries from the outset of spring training. Having been without the likes of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Kevin Youkilis, Francisco Cervelli, and several others, the Yankees have been in contention all season. General manager Brian Cashman has probably done his best overall job piecing together a roster of castaways and minor leaguers to keep the Yankees competitive until reinforcements are able to return. Luckily for the Yankees, their most recent skid in which the offense has been absent, will be getting two big boosts to the lineup starting Friday night against the Red Sox. Both Youkilis and Teixeira have completed their respective rehab assignments are will be activated from the disabled list in time for the series.
Even though the Yankees aren’t getting everyone back, this is a step in the right direction. Things will not be easy for the Bombers however, as Red Sox lefty Jon Lester has been practically unbeatable in New York over his career. C.C. Sabathia looks to regain his ace status as well, still showing signs of inconsistency since his pitching elbow was operated on over this past off-season. A sweep by the Red Sox would put them squarely in control of the division moving forward, while a sweep by the Yankees would leave them atop of the division heap with a slim lead on Boston. However the series comes out, there is no better rivalry in all of sports than when the Yankees and Red Sox are both competitive, fighting for early season bragging rights and control of the division.
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