It has been a long time since fans in Boston have been excited about playoff basketball, so this time around they’re enjoying every minute of it. Celtic supporters were raucous in all 4 quarters of Boston’s second playoff victory over the Atlanta Hawks, in which they cruised to the 96-77 victory last night at the TD Banknorth Garden to take a 2-0 series lead.
Five Celtics scored in double figures, led by Kevin Garnett’s 19 point, 10 rebound performance which came on the night when he was awarded the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year trophy in pre-game ceremonies. When he was handed the trophy at mid-court, he motioned for his teammates to come over and join him as he accepted the award.
“It’s not one person but it is all of us that make up this award,” Garnett said.
The team then went out and backed up Garnett’s statement, contributing very evenly up and down the line up in another showing of pure domination over a Hawks line up that just can’t hang with the big boys.
“This has been an experience,” said Josh Smith of the Hawks, who dropped 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds in the loss. “When we return home, we are going to need our fans as much as ever.”
The Boston fans played a big role as the 6th man in games 1 and 2, getting into the head of Hawks starting point guard Mike Bibby. Bibby, a ten year veteran of the NBA, made some surprising comments regarding the local fan base after the game 1 loss saying that they were ‘fair weather fans who jumped on the bandwagon’.
Bibby certainly heard it last night from the Garden crowd, receiving boo’s every time he touched the ball, chants even reigned down on him in the 4th quarter when he was on the bench like, “Where is Bibby?” and “Rondo’s Better.” Combined in games one and two, Bibby shot 4 for 17 from the floor and only had 2 assists. Rondo, on the other hand, has been a leader on the court shooting 12 of 20 in both games with 17 assists and only 1 turnover.
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers had high expectations of the young point guard for the year, but never imagined this type of immediate production and contributions Rondo has made to the team.
“He puts so much time into his game so it’s nice to see a guy who works on it and see it come to fruition,” Rivers said. “He’s so ahead of the curve. He started last year with a great IQ, which always helps because then you have something to work with. And then he has this self motivation that he wants to be good, that he wants to be the best. And he has the stubborn streak that sometimes gets in his way, but he has learned to move that out of the way and allowed himself to be coached.”
On nights like last, the players make Doc’s job easy. The Celtics held Atlanta to another awful shooting night from the field at .383 % and out rebounded them 58 to 40. It was simply another display of dominance by the Eastern Conference favorites and makes one wonder if the Hawks are tying, or if this first round of the playoffs is simply a formality for them.
Along with Garnett scoring in double figures, the Celtics received 15 from Ray Allen, 14 from Paul Pierce, 12 from Rondo and 10 from Sam Cassell off the bench. Kendrick Perkins added 8 points and 9 rebounds in another solid game in the low post.
The series will now shift to Atlanta for games 3 and 4, with the Hawks hoping to have better luck in front of their home crowd. They will need to win at least one game to keep the series alive. The Celtics have other plans, and look to keep their quest for Green 17 alive.
Celtics Playoff tickets available for all potential games and rounds. Full refund for any game not played.
For the third time in four games, the Boston Red Sox overcame an early deficit to pull out a 7-6 victory in last night’s game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Trailing 5-1 going into the bottom of the 4th, the Sox rallied to tie the score in the 5th inning, capped by a Kevin Youkilis two-run homer that landed in the heart of the Monster Seats.
In a game that had the potential to be a stellar pitching match up, Red Sox starter Josh Beckett was scratched from the lineup a few hours before the scheduled first pitch with soreness in his neck. David Pauley was pulled up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make the spot start in his absence and lasted 4 1/3 innings allowing 5 runs on 7 hits.
Angels starter Jered Weaver allowed a leadoff homerun to Jacoby Ellsbury but settled down after his club put 3 runs up on the board in the 3rd inning. Weaver looked dominant in the bottom half of the 3rd striking out the side in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Angels catcher Jeff Mathis added 2 more runs on his 3rd homer of the year in the 4th.
Boston found themselves in a familiar situation, down by a few runs and in need of some clutch hitting to pull out a win. Luckily for them, that hasn’t been a problem.
“We didn’t quit,” Pedroia said. “They had a lead. We strung together at-bats.”
The rally began with a Julio Lugo RBI single in the 4th that knocked home left-fielder J.D. Drew to make the score 5-2 in favor of Anaheim. Lugo has now hit safely in the last 8 games, recording 14 hits and raising his average to .324 on the year.
Julian Tavarez relieved Pauley in the 5th and was able to force Tori Hunter of the Angels to ground into an inning ending double play, giving the Sox some momentum heading into their at bat.
Pedroia kept it going by leading of the inning blasting a double to right center field that Vlad Guerrero made a play on but the ball hit the webbing in his glove, popped out and was ruled a hit. Ortiz then singled through the shift to center field knocking in Pedroia to cut the lead to 5-3. Ramirez was up next and nearly tied the game with a shot down the right field line, that almost found its way into the stands behind Pesky’s Pole, but Guerrero redeemed himself making a great catch on the run that took away a homerun from Manny.
However, no one was catching Kevin Youkilis’s bomb over the wall into the Monster Seats that tied the game at 5-5. The shot made the Fenway Faithful forget all about Josh Beckett being scratched from his start
“Baseball isn’t a one-man game. It’s different guys every game,” said Kevin Youkilis. “There’s a lot of times when Josh will pitch well. There’s times when we’re going to need to score some runs for him.”
Jacoby Ellsbury cracked his second solo homerun of the game in the 6th inning giving the Sox the 6-5 lead which would hold for only an inning before the Angels Casey Kotchman belted a solo shot into the right field stands, tying the game at 6-6.
In the bottom of the 8th, Ellsbury got things going again reaching base on a bunt single. Pedroia then ripped a double to left for his fourth hit on the night, and Ellsbury scored all the way from first giving the Sox a 7-6 lead that would hold up. Jonathan Papelbon came in and pitched a perfect 9th inning to record his 8th save on the season. The closer’s fastball peaked at 100mph during his impressive performance.
The win is the Sox 6th in a row and puts them at 15-7 overall on the season, good enough for the best record in the American League. What makes that record stand out even more is the fact that they’ve been winning with Mike Lowell on the DL, Josh Beckett already missing two starts, Curt Schilling not playing (although that may be a good thing) and David Ortiz’s early season struggles.
When it comes down to it, good teams find a way to win. The Boston Red Sox aren’t making excuses; they’re simply going out and playing hardball each night with the mentality that they’re in every single game until the last out is made. They’re winning as a unit, and it seems like each game there’s a different hero delivering the knock out punch.
These are all signs of a good team, and the best part, they continue to get better and better each night.
Check out Red Sox tickets for all games now.
After having to rally two games in a row for victories, the Boston Red Sox were in complete control in their 8-3 win over the Texas Rangers completing the four game series sweep on Marathon Monday in Boston. The game’s first pitch was thrown at 11:06am to correspond with marathon runners passing through Kenmore square during the middle and late innings of the game.
Rookie Clay Buchholtz hurled 6 innings for the Red Sox allowing 0 runs on 5 hits while striking out 6 Rangers in the outing for the win. This was Buchholtz’s first victory of the season, and first win as a starting pitcher since he hurled a no-hitter at Fenway on Sept 1st last fall.
While Buchholtz was solid on the hill, his teammates made sure that his effort would not go to waste, posting 5 runs in the 4th inning and another 3 in the 5th to take an 8-0 lead that would prove to be more then enough. Julio Lugo led the Sox at the plate going 4-4 on the afternoon, scoring 2 runs, knocking in an RBI and reaching base again on a walk.
DH David Ortiz got into the action as well belting two RBI doubles in back to back innings, good for 3 RBI’s on the day. He has now hit safely in 7 of 8 games and raised his average .107 points over that span (.070 up to .177). He has been hitting better ever since his number 34 jersey was unearthed from the construction site of the new Yankee Stadium mid last week.
Youngsters Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury each chipped in with 2 hits a piece. Pedroia knocked in 2 RBI’s while Ellsbury added 1 RBI, a walk and 2 stolen bases.
The Rangers sent former Red Sox starter Kason Gabbard to the mound, but after only 2 innings he was removed from the game due to back spasms. Gabbard did not allow a hit but did surrender 3 walks in his brief outing. He was relieved by Dustin Nippert who would pitch a scoreless 3rd inning before allowing all 8 of the Red Sox runs over the 4th and 5th frames and took the loss.
Former Red Sox farm hand Dave Murphy paced the Rangers at the plate going 2 for 3 on the day, scoring a run and recording a walk. SS Michael Young also had 2 hits, scored a run and walked in the game.
The Sox will now welcome the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to Boston for a three game series. LA is currently in first in the AL West with a 12-8 record while Boston sits atop the AL East at a 14-7 mark.
Tuesday’s match up will feature Josh Beckett throwing against the young fireballer, Jered Weaver. Wednesday the Sox will send Dice-K Matsuzaka to the hill to face Jon Garland, and in the final match up before the Sox hit the road for a weekend series in Tampa Bay, Boston sends Jon Lester to the mound to duel against Joe Saunders on Thursday.
Tickets are still available for all of these match ups!
The NBA has released the schedule for the Celtics/Hawks first round matchup. The Celtics matched up against the Hawks three times during the regular season, winning those games handily by an average of 14 points. If the Hawks’ ten point loss to the Celtics’ backups on last Sunday is any indication, this series may very well end in a sweep.
Hawks @ Celtics
Sunday, April 20th – 8:30pm
Hawks @ Celtics
Wednesday, April 23 – 8:00pm
Celtics @ Hawks
Saturday, April 26th – 8:00pm
Celtics @ Hawks
Monday, April 28th – 8:00pm
Hawks @ Celtics
Celtics @ Hawks
Friday, May 2nd
Hawks @ Celtics
Sunday, May 4th
The Hawks will enter Sunday’s contest having lost three in a row, and 5 out of the last 7. The C’s will take a 4-game win streak with them, including three games in a row without the big three. If they manage to end the series early, the C’s starters will get even more rest before round 2.
Celtics Playoff Tickets are Available now
Five days after Clay Buchholz and Chien-Ming Wang battled it out at Fenway Park in a very well pitched contest, the two dueled once again last night at Yankee Stadium in the first of a two game series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. This time around, the results were a little bit different for the two starting pitchers in a match up that featured three ties and five lead changes, ultimately with the Yankees coming out on top 15-9.
Wang allowed 9 hits and 8 earned runs while walking 3 batters over 4+ innings of work. Buchholtz wasn’t much better allowing 8 hits and 7 earned runs with 1 walk over 3 2/3 innings before getting yanked from the hill. Neither pitcher figured into the decision.
Manny Ramirez started the scoring off for Boston with an RBI double in the top of the 1st inning. The NY line up then got to the Sox rookie hurler early, scoring 3 runs in the first, the big blow on a two-run homer by Bobby Abreu. Alex Rodriguez was the next batter and also took Buchholtz deep for back-to-back bombs, and this shot had some meaning. It was A-Rod’s number 522nd career homerun which surpasses Ted Williams and Willie McCovey’s for the 15th spot on the all-time homerun list. Rodriguez is only 32 years old.
The Sox would tack on runs in the 2nd and 4th inning to tie the score at 3-3, but the Yankees bats came to life again in the bottom of the 4th chasing Buchholtz from the game. New York would send all 9 batters in their line-up to the plate and score 4 times on 4 base hits to take a 7-3 lead.
Boston’s big inning would shortly follow in the top of the 5th when they sent 11 batters to the plate and scored 6 runs on 7 hits. Wang started the inning for the Yankees but did not record an out and was relieved by Ross Ohlendorf who came in with the bases loaded and no outs. Ohlendorf would allow all 3 of Wang’s inherited runners to score, as well as one of his own before retiring the Sox in the inning. All three of the outs came in the form of a strike out but the Sox were now on top 9-7.
The Yankees wasted no time to strike again scoring 4 more runs in the bottom of the 4th inning off of relief pitcher Julian Tavarez, taking the lead for good 11-9. Their bats would stir one more time in the 8th when they’d put the game out of reach with yet another 4 run inning, this time off of Sox reliever Mike Timlin who has been awful in the early goings of the 2008 season. His ERA after last night is currently at 27.00. Every Yankee starter had a hit as they stretched their winning streak to three for the first time this season and in doing so, stopped Boston’s winning streak at four games.
“Last year we were remarkably consistent,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “This year we’re winning games, but they were hard games to win.”
DH Jorge Posada had a nice night for the Yankees belting 2 hits and collecting 3 RBI’s. While Posada continues to DH and not catch because of a sore right shoulder, his replacement Chad Moeller also had a great night going 3-4 at the plate, scoring a run, knocking in an RBI and reaching base with a walk.
The Red Sox received another solid performance from RF J.D. Drew who went 3-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI’s. Drew is hitting .349 on the year and has been the most consistent everyday player in the Sox lineup through 16 games. LF Manny Ramirez also had a nice night going 3-4 with a run, walk and RBI. DH David Ortiz hit safely for the third straight game, the first time all year he’s hit in three consecutive contests.
Josh Beckett will take the ball for the Red Sox tonight, hoping to split the two game series in NY. He’ll be going up against veteran hurler Mike Mussina who suffered a loss to the Sox when the two saw each other this past weekend at Fenway Park. Beckett hopes that a venue change will not impede his progress towards another Red Sox victory, game time is at 7:05pm. The Sox will then return to Boston on Friday for a four game series against the Texas Rangers followed by a three game series vs. the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Great seats are still available for these weekend games, including Marathon Monday (Patriots Day).
All Red Sox fans are well aware of the high demand on tickets for home games at Fenway Park. This demand often makes it difficult to obtain tickets at low prices. Ace Ticket is now offering select “Discount Games” for the 2008 Red Sox season. Tickets for many discount games start at $39 each. The real value however is in the discount on premium seats. Many of these games feature Pavilion Club seats for less than face value and Loge Box and Field Box seats just over face value.
Take these listings for example:
Red Sox vs Rangers 4/18
Pav Club 12 Row 4 (4 Tickets) $135 per ticket (face is $165)
Red Sox vs Rangers 4/19
Pav Club 12 Row 6 (4 Tickets) $149 per ticket (face is $165)
Red Sox vs Rangers 4/20
Pav Club 12 Row 5 (2 Tickets) $159 per ticket (face is $165)
Pav Club 11 Row 4 (3 Tickets) $159 per ticket (face is $165)
Red Sox vs Rangers 4/21(Marathon Monday Game)
Pav Club 12 Row 4 (2 tickets) $159 per ticket (face is $165)
Pav Club 12 Row 3 (4 tickets) $159 per ticket (face is $165)
Red Sox vs Angels 4/22
Pav Club 13 Row 3 (2 tickets) $149 per ticket (face is $165)
Pav Club 10 Row 1 (2 tickets) $145 per ticket (face is $165)
To check out Red Sox discounts online go here, Red Sox Discount tickets.
Feel free to call us as well at 1-800-MY-SEATS (800-697-3287).
The NFL and New England Patriots have released the schedule for all of the upcoming 2008 games. After starting last season off 18-0 before falling in the Super Bowl to the New York Giants, the Patriots look to continue to work towards the organizations 4th Super Bowl title.
Season schedule and preview listed below! Home games are in Bold.
Sun, Sept. 7 Kansas City Chiefs Gillette Stadium 1:00pm – The Patriots did not face the Chiefs last season but welcome them to Gillette for the 2008 home opener. A weak D-Line will allow the Pats to run them into the ground for their first win of the year.
Sun, Sept. 14 @ New York Jets Giants Stadium 4:15pm – After beating the Jets twice last season, the Pats look to keep the hurt on with no love lost between Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini of the Jets. The Pats will leave their cameras at home for this one.
Sun, Sept. 21 Miami Dolphins Gillette Stadium 1:00pm – The Dolphins again will be the worst team in the division and the Pats will roll to another early season victory.
Sun, Sept. 28 – BYE WEEK – And on the 4th week, they rested.
Sun, Oct. 5 @ San Francisco 49ers Monster Park 4:15pm – Under Bill Belichick, the Patriots have never lost a game after the buy week, sorry SF.
Sun, Oct. 12 @ San Diego Chargers Qualcomm Stadium 8:15pm – The first real test of the Pats season. They must control LT and the run and not let Philip Rivers have his way in the pocket, pressure will lead to turnovers and a Pats win.
Mon, Oct. 20 Denver Broncos Gillette Stadium 8:30pm – The two teams did not meet last year but will be in the spotlight for Monday Night Football. Hopefully Tom Brady has not forgotten the 2005 playoff loss to the Broncos in Denver and takes it to them in front of the home crowd.
Sun, Oct. 26 St. Louis Rams Gillette Stadium 1:00pm – The 2001 Super Bowl re-match does not have the same flare as it had years ago. The Pats are still in their dynasty years, the Rams continue to struggle and this one won’t be close.
Sun, Nov. 2 @ Indianapolis Colts Lucas Oil Stadium 8:15pm – This game should be circled on every football fans calendar. It’s the battle of the big guns in the AFC, and a potential preview of the AFC Championship game.
Sun, Nov. 9 Buffalo Bills Gillette Stadium 1:00pm – Buffalo will put a good team on the field this year but the experience of the Patriots will prevail over the Bills youth and lack of depth.
Thu, Nov. 13 New York Jets Gillette Stadium 8:15pm – Round two, Jets vs. Pats this time in enemy territory. The environment will be hostile… for the first 5 minutes until New England marches down and scores easily to quiet the crowd en route to another blowout.
Sun, Nov. 23 @ Miami Dolphins Dolphin Stadium 1:00pm – The Pats have had trouble in recent years with their trip down to Miami but shouldn’t let the sun get to them this time around.
Sun, Nov. 30 Pittsburgh Steelers Gillette Stadium 4:15pm – Big Ben inked a new deal but it wont be enough to lift the Steelers on the road vs. the mighty Pats. Look for Brady to attack their secondary with long shots down the field early on to establish the run for later in the game.
Sun, Dec. 7 @ Seattle Seahawks Qwest Field 8:15pm – Pats travel across the country for this match up in Seattle. The Seahawks will compete with the Pats as long as they limit their turnovers, which was a problem at times for them last year.
Sun, Dec. 14 @ Oakland Raiders McAfee Coliseum 4:15pm – Randy Moss will get to say hello to his former team and crowd when he returns to Oakland for the first time since he was traded to New England last off season. Moss and the rest of the Pats receivers will have a field day with this defensive lineup.
Sun, Dec. 21 Arizona Cardinals Gillette Stadium 1:00pm – The Pats are happy to welcome the Cardinals to Gillette, as long as they don’t have to play in Arizona and bring up memories of the Super Bowl upset.
Sun, Dec. 28 @ Buffalo Bills Ralph Wilson Stadium 1:00pm – The regular season wraps up with a game on the road vs. the Bills. The Pats will already have their playoff spot locked in, this game will be more about the Bills trying to get in and if the Pats will be playing their starters or resting them up for the playoffs.
It looks to be another exciting year, and with this schedule the Patriots have another shot to go undefeated during the regular season barring any serious injuries or changes to the team along the way.
2008 Patriots Tickets will be available soon.
Heading into last nights game trailing 2-0 in the playoffs series vs. the Montreal Canadians, the Boston Bruins felt the pressure to put on a solid performance or ultimately pack it in for the year. After their 2-1 OT win, they’ll at least be packing their bags for a game 5 in Canada, extending the series for another day with the victory. The win was the Bruins first of the year against the Canadians, and came at home in front of a sellout crowd at the TD Banknorth Garden.
“We got the monkey off our back after 13 losses,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien, who was not the coach of the Bruins when Montreal started its 13-game winning streak over a year ago. “The game was a lot like last night’s, but this time Lady Luck was smiling upon us.”
For the first time all season, the Bruins took a lead against the Canadians with an early 1st period goal scored in the 7th minute of the game. Milan Lucic found the back of the net on a beautiful shot that was assisted by Marc Savard and Mark Stuart.
The Canadians picked up their intensity in the 2nd period and came away with a goal to knot the game at 1-1. Tom Kostopoulos slapped home his second goal of the series 4:26 into the period, the goal was assisted by Bryan Smolinski and Steve Begin.
After a scoreless third period, the two teams would skate on in overtime and it was the Bruins who would take advantage of delayed penalty call and put home the game winning goal 9:25 into the extra period. It was Marc Savard who came off the bench as an extra man for the penalty call, and would put home his first goal of the playoffs for the key victory. Dennis Wideman was credited with the assist.
“I came on as the extra skater,” said Savard, “When Wideman picked it off, I yelled at the top of my lungs and luckily he saw me.”
The Bruins received an outstand effort in goal from Tim Thomas who made 27 saves included several close range shots that came in the overtime.
“I knew at one point they were going to beat us,” Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau said. “We had a couple of really good chances in overtime, but Thomas played big.”
The two teams will skate in the 4th game of the series tomorrow night, again at the TD Banknorth Garden at 7:00pm. If the Bruins can win at least one of the next two games, a 6th game will also be played in Boston on Saturday April 19th.
Bruins vs Canadiens game 4 tickets are still available for tomorrow nights game!
In a series that featured a little bit of everything, the Boston Red Sox came out on top winning the final two games against the New York Yankees 4-3 and 8-5 after losing the opening contest 4-1. It wasn’t always pretty, and conditions were definitely not of prime baseball weather, but as always the two rivals battled it out in three exciting match ups, leaving fans with a taste of what’s to come during the rest of the regular season.
In Friday night’s game, Yankees starting pitcher Chien-Ming Wang hurled a complete game 2-hitter, and stifled Red Sox batters all night while scattered showers rained down on the Fenway faithful in the 4-1 Yankees victory. The two hits he allowed could very easily have been outs. J.D. Drew’s solo homerun that came in the 5th inning was a very catchable ball that RF Bobby Abreau misplayed, and let fall into the Sox bullpen for their only run on the night. The other hit came on a Coco Crisp bunt single in the 9th inning that was a very close play at first.
“I felt especially good about this because I threw the ball well here in Boston and never pitched well here,” Wang said through a translator.
The big blow for the Yankees came on a homerun by Jason Giambi off of Sox veteran reliever Mike Timlin in the 7th inning. Timlin worked the count full before leaving an 88 mph fastball belt high that Giambi took to dead center field underneath the flagpole at Fenway Park. The blast put the Yankees ahead for good 2-1, and they would add another run the same inning and an insurance run in the 9th.
Saturday afternoon’s match-up featured Josh Beckett making his first start at Fenway Park of the year. Beckett, who struggled in his season debut vs. Toronto, looked like he was back in form while working 6 2/3 innings during the 4-3 victory, striking out 5 Yankees batters. Manny Ramirez led the offensive charge with his 492 career homerun and 3 RBI’s on the afternoon. With his next homerun, Ramirez will tie Fred McGriff and Lou Gehrig for 24th on the all-time list.
During the 8th inning, the skies opened up and the game itself was delayed for 2 hours and 10 minutes due to heavy rains. The Yankees were up, threatening with two runners on and Alex Rodriguez coming to the plate when the game was put on hold. After the long wait, Jonathan Papelbon came out and overpowered Rodriguez with nothing but fastballs, and retired last seasons MVP with an impressive strikeout. Papelbon would work a perfect 9th to earn his 4th save of the season.
“My whole goal was just not to sit down during the rain delay, just keep my blood flowing,” Papelbon said. “I definitely had to stay in the right mind-set the whole time. I never let it go. … I stayed there the entire time. I maintained my intensity.”
Mike Mussina took the loss for the Yankees and is now 1-2 on the season. He allowed 8 hits and 4 earned runs during his 5 2/3 innings of work.
In last night’s 8-5 Red Sox victory, conditions were very similar to late October playoff weather. The game time temperature was a brisk 45 degrees with winds gusting around 13-15 mph. The elements affected both teams, especially the starting pitchers. Dice-K Matsuzaka walked 6 batters in 5 innings of work, and Phil Hughes issued 3 free passes in only 2 innings before getting the hook from Joe Giradi.
Luckily for Matsuzaka, the Sox were able to put up 3 runs in the 1st and 4 in the 3rd providing a big enough lead that would hold up for the win. Dustin Pedroia, Manny Ramirez, Kevin Youkilis, Sean Casey and Coco Crisp each had two hits in the win. Youkilis and Jacoby Ellsbury both drove in two runs as well.
The Yankees didn’t receive much offensive production in this one from the top of their lineup. Spots 1 through 4 went 1-15 on the night, including an 0-5 showing from A-Rod. On the series, Rodriguez was only 2-13 (.154) with 2 strikeouts.
Sox slugger David Ortiz sat out Sunday’s game to mentally re-focus, hoping it would help break his early season slump. Ortiz is batting .070 (3-43) with only 1 HR and 3 RBI’s on the year.
Boston heads out for a two-game series in Cleveland, the teams first meeting since last years ALCS match up that the Red Sox took in 7 games en route to their World Series victory. The Yankees are off to Tampa Bay to face the Devil Rays before the rivals square off again in the Bronx for two games on April 16th and 17th.
The Sox return home on April 18th for a three-game series against the Texas Rangers and a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Tickets are still available for both series!
Baseball season may have officially started two weeks ago in Tokyo, Japan but for Red Sox fans, this weekend’s series vs. the New York Yankees is what it’s all about. It’s a new year, and for the first time in a long time Red Sox Nation feels like they finally have the edge on the Bronx Bombers. With not one, but two World Series championship rings over the past four seasons, a growing international fan base and an ownership that has made it a precedent to restore and preserve Fenway Park it is very clear why Sox fans are on top of the world.
Things in New York have not been so cheery and upbeat. Their 26th World Series championship came way back in the year 2000. Their reign as champions at the top of the AL East is history, just like their former and future hall of fame manager Joe Torre who did not resign with the club after the 2007 campaign. This season will also be Yankee Stadiums last, a new ball park project is well underway and costing the organization almost $1 billion dollars to construct.
As the Yankees venture into Boston for the three game series, both clubs boast a mediocre (5-5) record on the year and are coming off of wins last night. The Sox had an offensive outburst in their 12-6 victory over the Tigers while the Yankees received a solid pitching performance from starting pitcher Andy Pettitte in their 6-1 win over the Royals.
In tonight’s game, Red Sox rookie Clay Buchholtz will take the hill against Yankees ace Chien-Ming Wang. Buchholtz has never faced the Yankees before and looked shaky in his season debut over last weekend in Toronto allowing four runs, six hits and two walks in a 10-2 loss. Wang in 2-0 on the season with an impressive 1.38 ERA, but over his career is only 5-5 vs. Boston with a 4.56 ERA.
Saturday’s match up will feature Josh Beckett going against veteran Mike Mussina. The ‘Moose’ struggled in his first start of the season but rebounded with a good second outing and stands with a 1-1 mark heading into Fenway. After last year’s performance, Beckett had high expectations by many to be the ace of his staff but after suffering from back spasms that sidelined him on the DL to start the season, he opened up with a very poor outing vs. Toronto on April 6th in which he allowed five earned runs on three hits, one of which a monster homerun by Vernon Wells, and walked five Blue Jays in the 10-2 loss. The start will be Beckett’s first at Fenway since winning Game 1 of the World Series vs. Colorado back in October 2007.
In the series finale, Dice-K Matsuzaka will be on the mound pitching against highly touted rookie Phil Hughes. In his last start, Hughes had some control issues walking 4 Royals and surrendering 6 hits in only 3 innings of work in the Yankees 5-2 loss on April 8th. Matsuzaka has been very good in his previous two outings allowing only 1 run over 13 1/3 innings while striking out 16 in that period.
Both clubs have are a little banged up from injuries right now. The Sox placed All-Star 3B Mike Lowell on the 15-day DL with a sprained left-thumb that he suffered against during the Tigers series. Kevin Youkilis will transition back to third for the time being and Sean Casey will fill the void at first. The Yankees were without SS Derek Jeter in the Royals series, he was sidelined with a strained left-quadriceps. He is listed as day-to-day and is unsure about his availability throughout the weekend.
It’s only April, but both teams would like to jump ahead in the season series early. In 2005 we saw just how important the head to head match up was when both teams finished with identical records of 95-67. The Yankees were crowned the division champs because of a 10-9 advantage vs. the Sox during the regular season.
Some numbers and stats to ponder on heading into the weekend:
-New York won last year’s series 10-8, winning eight of the final 10 meetings after Boston had captured six of the first eight games.
-Boston’s two big guns have enjoyed success against Yankees pitcher Chien- Ming Wang. Manny Ramirez is 13-for-22 (.591), while David Ortiz is 15-for-30 (.500). Each player has two homers off of the right-hander.
-Alex Rodriguez has 37 career HR’s, 99 RBI’s and 168 hits against Boston.
Tickets are still available for all games this weekend!