With 20 games left for the New York Yankees this season, every game is more important than the last for a team needing every win they can get. Unfortunately, the Yankees' last three games against the Boston Red Sox has been something of a nightmare.
Coming back from a six-run deficit on Thursday, only to lose in the 10th inning after Mariano Rivera blew the save -- being just one strike away from ending the game -- then having the Red Sox post nine runs in the 7th and 8th innings on Friday to comeback and beat the Yankees; then, of course, Saturday's beating of David Huff and other Yankee pitchers.
But in a lucky way for the Bombers, the three terrible losses they have suffered in the first three games against Boston this weekend have had no negative effect on them in the Wild Card race, as the Tampa Bay Rays continue to struggle on the West Coast, so the Yanks are still only 2.5 games back.
Derek Jeter hasn't been able to help the Yankees in their playoff chase this season, having only played in 17, and there's a slight chance he could be missing more time. After leaving yesterday's game in the 6th inning, the Yankees had him get a CT on his sore left ankle, but thankfully results came back negative.
Today's Lineup vs Boston:
No Jeter in the lineup today, as of now, he's day to day with a sore ankle. Also, Gardner not in the lineup for the Yankees, as of now, he's just getting a day off.
At one point this season, Hiroki Kuroda was undoubtedly the Yankees' best starter. But a couple weeks later, he's not one of their biggest question marks, coming off a fourth straight shaky start, and is in dire need to turn thing around against the Red Sox on Sunday.
Kuroda has seen his ERA rise since August 12th, going from 2.33 to 2.99, as he has given up 23 runs in his last 23 innings. Although he took home the no-decision in his last start against the Chicago White Sox, he still gave up four runs on seven hits in 6 1/3 innings.
"I thought his stuff was better tonight," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "The top of the order has been tough on him, and they were tough on him again tonight. But I thought his stuff was better, and that's a good sign for me."
Boston will be sending out to the mound, left-hander Jon Lester, has allowed three earned runs or fewer in six straight games. Lester is coming off a solid outing against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, tossing seven innings of one-run ball in route to his 13th win this season.
"I'm in a better spot right now as far as going down the mound, which puts me in a better position for that pitch," Lester said. "I think maybe taking a break from it for a little bit helped me, trying not to pound my head against the wall with it. It's been good the last three, four, five starts, so keep grinding it out."