That said, as of this writing there's no official word on tonight's game and since Jay and I will both be occupied with various recreational athletic activities come game time, we're going to put up our preview as if the game will be played.
If it is played, CC Sabathia will make his third start against the Red Sox this year, the second consecutive one that has potential to be altered by the weather. Pitching in Fenway Park ten days ago, the umpires called for the tarp while the Big Fella was one strike away from qualifying for a win. Instead, the rain delay was long enough to prevent him from returning, leaving him with a four and two thirds innings pitched no-decision. He followed that up with a rough outing in Detroit last Thursday, allowing six runs in as many innings while surrendering nine hits. CC also had a bit of trouble with Boston on Opening Night, but in his five starts between his two outings against the Red Sox he pitched quite well: 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, and 26:12 K:BB over 37.1 IP.
Just as Sabathia has a bit of trouble with Boston in his two starts against them this year, tonight's Boston starter has done poorly in two outings against the Yankees in 2010. Josh Beckett was chased after just four and two thirds on Opening Night, after surrendering nine hits, two homers, three walks, and five runs. Things were even worse for him on May 7th: nine hits, one homer, three walks, and nine runs over five innings.
Also mixed in during that start were a pair of hit batsmen, and a couple near misses, as Beckett entirely unraveled in the sixth inning. Several Yankees were not pleased with Beckett's lack of control that night, CC Sabathia chiefly amongst them. In his start the next afternoon, Sabathia plunked Dustin Pedroia, almost assuredly as retaliation.
That will certainly be a storyline tonight, something Peter Abraham touched upon in a chat today and Bronx Banter relayed earlier this afternoon. I'm all for sticking up for your players, but I still contend that the only purpose pitch Beckett threw two weeks ago was when he buzzed Francisco Cervelli in the fourth inning. That said, I think both teams have too much to lose to go getting involved in a bean ball war tonight. Beckett has pitched extremely poorly this year and a sore back forced him to miss his last scheduled start. He has far more important things to be worried about tonight. Meanwhile, the Yankees are fending off injuries on a daily basis. They're also 14-3 in their last seventeen games against Boston and the Red Sox have struggled through the first six weeks of 2010. The last thing the Yankees need to do is engage in a basebrawl, risking further injury or lighting a fire under a scuffling Boston squad. Sabathia responded appropriately in his start a week ago; there's no need to push this agenda any further.
In roster news, the beleaguered Yankee bullpen figures to get some reinforcements tonight. Mark Melancon is rumored to be on his way to New York, and so long as they're confident the game will be played, he'll most likely be added to the roster at the expense of either Boone Logan or Greg Golson. It befuddles me that like Angel Berroa and Brett Tomko last year, Logan has yet another opportunity to dodge a bullet tonight. But with Damaso Marte likely unavailable after throwing 26 pitches last night, Joe Girardi will almost assuredly want the lefty Logan in the pen. And since we're talking beanballs, it's worth mentioning that Melancon was prominently featured in a couple near dustups last year, including a plunking of Dustin Pedroia last August.
In other bullpen news, Sergio Mitre is listed as being available out of the pen tonight. With only one day of rest since his start it's unlikely he'd be able to go for long though. Despite throwing just four pitches last night, I doubt we'd see Javier Vazquez tonight as he remains on track for a Friday start at Citi Field. Chan Ho Park is likely unavailable after throwing 30 pitches last night, but David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain figure to be back in the fold after resting yesterday.
So this will be the second game of a rare two game series and also the second Beckett-Sabathia match-up we've seen this year. Second game. Second match-up. Second Song.
The second song came softly, he heard it seeping through the vent
The notes were long and languished, they described their circumstance
The rent was halfway spent, the day was peeling hot
She asked "can we leave this place?" He answered "probably not"
They had less than they guessed but more than they knew
That second song was the best they could do
And all of the while there were two: one eyed green and one eyed blue
[Song Notes: Assembly of Dust frontman Reid Genauer first came to prominence with the band Strangefolk. Formed in 1991 at the University of Vermont, Strangefolk is definitely a New England band, with their tune "Sweet New England" leaving little doubt about that. Genauer left Strangefolk in 2000, and formed Assembly of Dust two years later while enrolled in graduate school at Cornell. So as the Yankees and Red Sox play tonight we turn to a musician who has formed bands in the territories of both teams. "Second Song" comes off their latest album, which features a different guest musician on each track and is thus smartly titled Some Assembly Required]
The Yankees run out virtually the same lineup they used last night. Juan Miranda replaces A-Rod as the DH tonight, A-Rod replaces Ramiro Pena at third base. Jorge Posada's sore foot keeps him out the lineup for the second straight day. He's now started just nine of the last nineteen games. Nick Swisher felt no pain hitting left handed off a tee today, but he remains out of the lineup.
Derek Jeter SS
Brett Gardner CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Francisco Cervelli C
Marcus Thames RF
Juan Miranda DH
Randy Winn LF
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Kevin Youkilis 1B
Victor Martinez C
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Bill Hall LF
Darnell McDonald CF