Roger Clemens was the Red Sox's young fireballing ace. Josh Beckett is the Red Sox's young fireballing ace. The two face off tonight at the Stadium in a series that got a heckuva lot more exciting after the Yankees decided to show up last night and make things interesting.
If you were to plot this series out, you could see a focused Yankee team winning behind Pettitte and Wang on the days Joba's available to nail down the setup innings and against two pitchers the Yankees have fared well against thus far this year in Matsuzaka and Schilling. That would chalk tonight's game up as the loss, as Beckett has finally put it all together at age 27, while Clemens has just two quality starts in his last five tries at age 45. As great a player as Hanley Ramirez has become/is becoming, if Beckett and Mike Lowell can lead the Sox to another World Championship this year, it'll be hard to call that trade a mistake.
One positive for the Yankees tonight is that Manny Ramirez's back is tense. Manny left last night's game with back spasms, isn't in the lineup tonight, and is likely unavailable. Erik Hinske gets the start in left. Jason Giambi starts at first base for the Yankees. The other positive is that, if the Yankees do manage to win tonight, they'll be in great position for a very unlikely sweep.