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Posts Tagged ‘MLB Baseball’

Home Sweep Home; Sox Take All 3 vs Brewers

Posted by Ace Staff on May 19th, 2008

After an unimpressive 10 game road trip that ended with 4 consecutive losses, the Boston Red Sox happily returned home to the friendly confines of Fenway Park for their weekend interleague match up against the Milwaukee Brewers. Not only have the Sox excelled at home this season, but since 2006 they have dominated the National League. This success continued as the Sox used a balanced offensive attack to sweep away the Brewers in the three game series. Friday night the rains fell in Boston, forcing the game to be postponed to Saturday. The extra day of rest helped the Sox refocus as they came out and captured the first game of the series 5-3 behind another solid pitching performance by Dice-K Matsuzaka. With the victory, Matsuzaka improves to 7-0 on the season and more importantly the Sox improve to 9-0 in games he has started. Many are starting to look at him as the staff ace, but he isn’t ready to accept the title just yet. “I want to keep winning,” Matsuzaka said, grinning to an interpreter. “But I think Boston’s ace is Josh Beckett.” Beckett started out the 2007 season with a 9-0 record before suffering his first loss. Offensively in the first game, David Ortiz blasted a 3-run homerun in the 2nd inning that would give the Sox a 4-0 lead and all the runs they’d need to hold on for the victory. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 12th save on the season, shutting the door in the 9th inning. After Fenway Park was cleared and cleaned, the teams changed uniforms and came back out for the night cap doubleheader that featured a little bit of everything, but the end result was all that mattered in a Red Sox 7-6 victory. Veteran knuckleballer Tim Wakefield hurled 5 1/3 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5 in the outing. He left the game with the lead but did not end up factoring into the decision because of some costly errors that led to unearned runs. The Sox made 3 errors on the night, which resulted in 3 unearned runs being scored in the 7th inning giving the Brewers a 6-5 lead at time. The Sox immediately stuck back putting 2 runs up on the board in the bottom of the 7th, capitalizing on 2 errors by the Brewers infield. The only hit in the inning came on a single by Kevin Youkilis that knocked in the eventual game winning run, scored by Dustin Pedroia. Milwaukee made 4 errors total on the game. Having pitched earlier in the day, closer Jonathan Papelbon was unavailable for the save so veteran reliever Mike Timlin was called upon to close it out. He recorded a perfect 9th inning, retiring all three batters on only 8 pitches for his first save on the season. Prior to the outing Timlin had not recorded a save since May 2nd 2007. Game three of the series featured the long ball, and lots of them. Eight homeruns were blasted in the Red Sox 11-7 win, completing the sweep of the Brewers in their first trip to Fenway Park since 1993. David Ortiz led the way for Boston, hitting two homeruns and knocking in 4 RBI’s on the afternoon giving him a season total of 10 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis also added long balls, their 2nd and 9th respectively. John Beckett was on the hill for the Sox going for win number 5 on the season. Although he did not very sharp, behind all the offensive firepower, he was able to hold off the Brewers bats just enough to pick up the victory. Beckett lasted 7 innings and allowed 6 runs on 6 hits, 4 of which were Milwaukee homeruns. He struck out 9 in the outing bringing his season strike-out total to 56, 5th best in the AL. Milwaukee was led by Ryan Braun who hit two homeruns on the afternoon and now has 13 on the season. J.J. Hardy and Prince Fielder also homered off of Beckett, who allowed 4 HR’s only for the 2nd time in a game in his career. The previous outing came against the Toronto Blue Jays back on May 30th of 2006. Since 2006, the Red Sox are now 18-3 against the National League in interleague play at Fenway Park and 31-8 overall. That is not counting the 4 consecutive World Series wins against the Colorado Rockies in their 2007 championship campaign. The Sox will now welcome the Kansas City Royals into town for a 4-game series. Kansas City currently hold a 21-22 record and is tied for 3rd in the AL Central, but only 2 games out of first place in the division. The teams spilt their 6 games last season, each winning two of three at their home field. Tonight’s starting match up features Jon Lester vs. Luke Hochevar. Both have similar stats, Lester at 2-2 with a 3.95 ERA on the season and Hochevar at 3-2 with a 3.94 ERA. Tickets are still available for the remainder of the homestand!

Mets Sweep Struggling Yankees

Posted by Ace Staff on May 19th, 2008

In a rain shortened two game weekend series, the New York Mets took both games over the crosstown rival New York Yankees. With Friday night’s game postponed due to rain the matchup of Johan Santana vs Andy Pettite had to wait until Saturday and Santana didn’t disappoint, earning his fifth win of the year in a 7-4 victory by the Mets. Despite giving up homers to Jeter, Giambi and Abreu, Santana was mainly dominant over the Yankees lineup. The Mets got big homeruns out of David Wright and Jose Reyes. In Sunday’s game two, the Yankees didn’t fair much better against the Met’s Oliver Perez, scoring two runs on a Hideki Matsui homerun. The Mets had another great offensive night, putting up eleven runs on Yankees pitching. Chien Ming Wang took the loss for the Yankees, his 2nd of the year. At 20-24 the Yankees remain in last place in the AL East and are four games below .500. They hope the return of Alex Rodriguez on Tuesday night can jump start their offense.

Indians Lee Dazzles Yankees in 3-0 Victory

Posted by Ace Staff on May 8th, 2008

On paper it looked like a great pitching match up in the making. Going into the game Chien Ming Wang of the New York Yankees boasted a 6-0 record while Cliff Lee of the Indians was right behind him at 5-0 on the season. When it was all said and done with, it would be Lee who remained undefeated, hurling 7 shut out innings en route to Cleveland’s 3-0 win over the Bronx Bombers last night at Yankee Stadium. Lee is one of only three starting pitchers in the American League who has at least 6 wins and remains undefeated at this point in the season.

“I’ve got to focus on this next outing and if I do that and continue to do that things should go the way they have gone,” Lee said. “Obviously I can’t expect to put up zeros every single time but it’s my job to put up as many as I can and get deep into the game and give the team a chance to win.”

The Indians starter was in control all night long, allowing only 6 hits while striking out 7 batters in the winning effort. He did not surrender a walk, and only allowed 1 runner to reach as far as third base during his outing. Not only was this Lee’s 6th win on the season, but it was his 6th consecutive decision for a win. He has pitched at least 6 innings in all of his starts and only allowed 4 runs over 44 2/3 innings, good for a .81 ERA which in the best among starting pitchers in MLB. Greg Swindell was the last Indians pitcher to win his first 6 starts back in 1988.

“Cliff is in the groove right now,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge.

Chien Ming Wang was the tough luck loser in this pitchers duel. The Yankees ace hurled 7 strong innings as well, allowing 3 runs on 5 hits, but walked 3 in the losing effort. He would allow runs in the 1st, 4th and 5th innings before being removed after completing the 7th when his pitch count hit the 99 pitches. “A lot of nights that’s good enough,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. “He gave us seven good innings. Unfortunately we couldn’t score any runs for him.”

Ben Francisco and Jhonny Peralta each had two hits for the Indians in the win. David Dellucci, Victor Martinez and Casey Blake had the Cleveland RBI’s.

Bobby Abreu had the Yankees only multi-hit game, going 2-4 on the night. The top of the Yankees line-up struggles with Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon going a combined 0-8 against Lee and the Cleveland bullpen.

Lee will go for his 7th win on Monday against the Toronto Blue Jays. All of his success may come as a surprise to many because a year ago he started the season on the DL, followed by some time in Triple-A in Buffalo and was then left off of the 2007 playoff roster.

All of that aside, Lee is looking like the real deal and the Indians will continue to ride his success for as long as he continues to pitch gem after gem.

Yankees/Indians Notes: - Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Phil Hughes are traveling to Tampa, FL today to continue rehabbing their injuries. No time table has been put on their returns. - The Indians will go for the sweep of the Yankees today at Yankee Stadium, a feat which has not occurred since April 1989.

Wakefield Throws 8 Strong Innings in Sox 5-0 Win

Posted by Ace Staff on May 7th, 2008

When Tim Wakefield’s knuckleball starts to dance, he knows that opposing batters are in for a long game of doing the two-step tango. That two-step involves the swing, and the miss. Wakefield saw plenty of that in last nights 5-0 Red Sox victory over the struggling Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Wakefield hurled 8 dominant innings allowing only two hits, no runs or walks while striking out 6 batters in the winning effort. “I felt really good tonight. It felt really good throwing strikes with all three pitches,” said Wakefield, who threw more fastballs and curves than normal. “When I establish I can throw strikes with my knuckleball, it helps make my other pitches better.” With the win, Wakefield improved to 3-1 on the season with two of those victories now coming against Detroit. It was also his first win since his start on April 20th vs. the Texas Rangers. The win was the 171st of his career which puts him 13th on the active list and 3rd in Boston Red Sox history with 157 wins, only behind Cy Young and Roger Clemens. Wakefield established that he was throwing the knuckleball for a strike early on and that allowed for him to mix pitches well throughout the rest of the night, keeping batters on their heels, never knowing what to expect. “He threw all strikes,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “That’s the best breaking ball we’ve seen from him all year.” While Wakefield provided the lift on the mound the Sox bats stayed hot as they collected 11 hits on the night including back to back homeruns in the 7th inning by David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez. Ortiz’s homerun was surrendered by Tigers starting pitcher Nate Robertson who lasted 6 1/3 innings while allowing 10 hits, 4 runs and 2 walks. He struck out 4 Sox batters but that last pitch he threw landed approximately 415 feet away from home plate in the right field bleachers at the hands of Ortiz’s 7th dinger of the year. Ramirez welcomed rookie relief pitcher Freddy Dolsi to the big leagues by sending his first pitch over the center field fence for his 7th shot of the year and bringing him only 3 homeruns shy from having 500 career blasts. Ramirez had 3 hits on the night as did back up catcher Kevin Cash. Kevin Youkilis added a pair of doubles and scored a run for another productive offensive night in Detroit. Mike Timlin pitched a scoreless 9th to preserve the win for Wakefield. The win was the Red Sox 5th victory in a row and 7th win in their last 8 games. The Tigers are now on a 5 game losing streak. Tonight’s pitching match up features two rookies that have both pitched well in the early going of this young 2008 season. For the Red Sox, Clay Buchholtz boasts a 2-2 record but has looked very solid in his last three starts allowing 3 earned runs over 19 1/3 innings while striking out 21 over that period. The Tigers send Armando Galarraga to the hill to make his 5th start of the year. Galarraga has replaced Dontrell Willis in the rotation until the superstar returns from the DL. In his previous 4 starts, the rookie has only allowed 5 earned runs over 24 innings for an impressive 1.88 ERA. Sox Notes: - Last night was Mike Timlin’s 1022 career appearance which ties him with Lee Smith for 9th on the all-time appearances list. - Curt Schilling played catch for the first time in months before Tuesday’s game. The 41-year old pitcher has no plans to throw off a mound in the future but continues to make progress towards a possible return during the 2nd half of the season. - Utility infielder Alex Cora (right elbow sprain) will begin a Triple-A rehab assignment today with the Pawtucket Red Sox and will be joined on Thursday by Sean Casey (right hip strain). -As a starting pitcher, Clay Buchholtz has not won a start on the road in the majors.

Matsuzaka Walks Away With Win; Sox Top Tigers

Posted by Ace Staff on May 6th, 2008

It’s a good sign for the Boston Red Sox when a starting pitcher has flu like symptoms, throws 109 pitches, only 60 for strikes in 5 innings of work, gives up 12 fly ball outs, walks 8 batters and still manages to pull off a win. That was the story last night for Dice-K Matsuzaka, and luckily for him the Sox bats made those numbers hold up for his 5th victory of the season in the 6-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. Matsuzaka now has a 5-0 record with a 2.43 ERA, but after last nights performance has now surrendered more walks on the year (27) then hits (22). He became only the 5th pitcher ever to win a start while allowing 8 or more walks in the game. Another notable name on that list was former Red Sox hurler Denis “Oil Can” Boyd. “There’s not too many outings where you walk that many and still win,” Boston manager Terry Francona said. “He competes. He didn’t have his best stuff or feel 100 percent physically, but tonight it was enough.” Enough only because the Sox took care of business at the plate, belting three homeruns that Detroit could not match en route to their 4th consecutive victory and 6th win in 7 games. Mike Lowell started the homerun brigade with his first blast of the season, a two-run bomb that came in the 2nd inning off of Detroit starting pitcher Jeremy Bonderman. Lowell had been sidelined for two weeks on the DL with a sprained left thumb, and along with it being his first HR of the season; it was also his first RBI’s as well. Kevin Youkilis added another two-run shot in the 4th inning that put the Sox ahead 4-0 at the time. The homerun was Youkilis’ second in as many days and the first basemen now has 4 on the season. David Ortiz got into the action belting a towering solo shot in the 9th inning for an insurance run, the blast was his 6th on the season. Ortiz’s average continues to steadily climb and is over .220 for the first time all year. He’s hit safely in the last 5 games and raised his batting average 41 percentage points over that span. Out of the Sox bullpen, Hideki Okajima pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 10th save in 10 tries by pitching a perfect 9th inning to preserve the win for Matsuzaka. The Red Sox improved to a 21-13 overall record on the season and are a top the AL East by 3 ½ games over Tampa Bay and New York. They also are tied with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the best record in the American League. With last night’s win in the books, the team is now currently in the midst of their longest road trip of the year, a ten game, three city swing that will feature three more games in Detroit, a four game series in Minnesota followed by a two game stop in Baltimore. Sox Notes: - Manny Ramirez needs 4 homeruns to reach the 500 career milestone. - Craig Hansen made his season debut last night pitching 1 2/3 innings allowing 2 earned runs. He was added to the active roster when Brendan Moss was placed on the 15-day DL after having an emergency appendectomy. - The Red Sox have a 7-8 record on the road after last nights win, compared to a 14-5 home record, which is the best in baseball. - Tim Wakefield goes for the Sox tonight and has already beaten the Tigers once on the year.

Sox Walk Off With Win, Break Losing Streak

Posted by Ace Staff on April 30th, 2008

Tuesday night’s Fenway crowd was treated to frigid weather and frozen batters. Both Jays’ Ace Roy Halladay and the Sox’ Jon Lester had stellar outings in the tidy two-hour and fifteen minute game. (more)

Ortiz Curse Jersey Sells for $175,100 in Charity Auction

Posted by Ace Staff on April 24th, 2008

Two weeks after a David Ortiz Red Sox jersey was removed from two feet of concrete at the site of the new Yankee Stadium, it sold on eBay in a charity auction for the Jimmy Fund for $175,100 dollars. The jersey had been buried by Turner Construction worker Gino Castignoli, in hopes that by planting the uniform he would be cursing the Yankees new home. The highest bid came from Kevin Meehan, the owner of in Mendon, Mass. The auction received 282 bids for the scruffy No. 34 David Ortiz jersey. Jim Holzman, owner of Ace Ticket, was rumored to be the winning bidder. Holzman has been on the winning end of a few Red Sox charity items in the past. Most notably Holzman won the famed Theo Epstein Gorilla suit and the FP 1 (Fenway Park 1) license plate. “Although this jersey would have been a great addition to my collection of Sox merchandise, I’m glad to hear its staying local. Mr. Meehan’s bid was very generous and I congratulate him and the Jimmy Fund. They are both winners today”. “I actually thought it was going to sell for more money,” said Meehan on His bid came only in the final seconds of the 7-day eBay auction that ended at 12:30 p.m. “I have three young boys that I take to the games and they would have killed me if I didn’t buy the shirt.” For his winning bid, Meehan will also receive a new David Ortiz game jersey, two tickets to a Red Sox game in which he will be presented the buried uniform and also a Yankees T-Shirt. For all of his generosity, the Ortiz jersey will be shipped for free.

Red Sox Rally To Win 6th In A Row

Posted by Ace Staff on April 23rd, 2008

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.

Red Sox Take 2 of 3 From Yanks

Posted by Ace Staff on April 14th, 2008

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!

Red Sox vs. Yankees, Weekend Series Preview

Posted by Ace Staff on April 11th, 2008

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!