Before the Yankees can bear down and focus on this weekend's five-game showdown in Boston, they need to get the last game of their current series with the Orioles out of the way. Fortunately, it's a day game, which will give them the evening to travel north. Of course, the first game of tomorrow's doubleheader is at 1:05 as well, and the Red Sox not only don't have to travel, but don't have to play today either. But you take what you can get.
Speaking of which, Jaret Wright takes the mound this afternoon. He's been excellent in his three August starts, which include a 6-inning, 1-run outing against these same Orioles. Overall his August line is: 3-0, 1.65 ERA, 16 1/3 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 0 HR, 9 BB, 10 K, 1.29 WHIP. I know I said it before his last start, but I have to repeat it, Wright hasn't allowed a home run since June 16 and has surrendered just four taters in 102 innings on the season.
As was the case when Wright last started against the Orioles, his mound opponent will be Rodrigo Lopez. Lopez gave up five runs in seven innings in that last meeting, suffering the loss despite an excellent 7:1 K/BB ratio. In his one start since then he lasted just 4 2/3 innings against the Red Sox, allowing three runs on seven hits, with a still-solid 5:2 K/BB ratio. An even more encouraging statistic is Lopez's 7.22 road ERA this season.
Here's hoping the Yanks can pull out a win this afternoon to take their fourth series of the season from the O's and head into this weekend's showdown with a 2.5 lead in the East.
Breaking News: The Red Sox just acquired Eric Hinske from the Blue Jays for a PTBNL. I'm unmoved by this transaction. Hinske has some great numbers as a part-time player this year, but he's cooled off of late, hitting .167/.310/.208 while starting the majority of the Blue Jays' games in August. If Hinske was really that useful, Toronto wouldn't have given the former Rookie of the Year to a division rival for chump change. What's more, the Sox made a similar deal obtaining Javy Lopez from another AL East team recently, but Lopez has been riding pine more often than not as Doug Mirabelli gets the starts behind the plate. My only question is if this will force the Sox to drop a pitcher. Right now they have a three-man bench (Cora, Kapler, Lopez) and a eight-man bullpen, which I had assumed was in anticipation of playing five games in four days against the Yankees this weekend.