The Yankees got the job done in Game 1, blowing out the Red Sox 12-4 behind big days from Johnny Damon (3 for 6, 3B, HR, 4 RBI, 3 R, and a huge sliding catch), Bobby Abreu (4 for 5, 2B, BB, R, SB), and Alex Rodriguez (2 for 5, 2B, BB, 2 RBI, 2 R, and a game-saving catch). That means that the pressure is on the Red Sox in the nightcap to take advantage of Sidney Ponson and his 8.78 ERA as a Yankee, lest they fall 3.5 games back in the East with just three games left in this series.
Meanwhile, the Yankees will be satisfied with a split, but did a good job of heating up their bats for 22-year-old rookie Jon Lester. The left-handed Lester had an impressive start to his major league career, posting a 2.38 ERA over his first eight starts despite an ugly walk rate of 5.76 BB/9, but the league seems to be catching up to him. Although his walk rate has drastically improved, Lester has a 6.91 ERA in his last five starts, due in large part to his having surrendered 41 hits in 27 1/3 innings against such offensive powerhouses as the Royals, Mariners, Angels and Orioles.
Overall, Lester has averaged less than 5 2/3 innings per start, which means if Ponson can keep it close (I know, but if), the Yankees will get a crack at the inferior Boston bullpen. Speaking of which, here's how the first game affected the two pens:
Yankees: Mike Myers retired David Ortiz on five pitches and should be available to do it again in the night cap if needed. Scott Proctor threw a reasonable 15 pitches over 1 2/3 innings. He should be avoided in the night game, but could be used if absolutely necessary and will certainly be available tomorrow. T.J. Beam threw 26 pitches in the ninth. Everyone else, including Mo, Farnsworth, Villone, Dotel and Brian Bruney, is fully rested.
Boston: Manny Delcarmen, Kyle Snyder, and Rudy Seanez are all unavailable for tonight having thrown 28, 39 and a whopping 47 pitches respectively. Rumor has it the Red Sox might activate Keith Foulke for the nightcap to compensate. Though speculation was that Jason Johnson would be designated for assignment to make room for Foulke, I wonder if the Sox might prefer to DFA Seanez, who has been awful this year and struggled to get outs in today's game, walking four and allowing four runs in an inning and a third. As it stands, the Sox have Papelbon, Timlin, Tavarez and Hansen fully rested.