Red Sox - Yankees Sunday Night Preview

BIG PITCHER'S DUEL SUNDAY NIGHT ON ESPN WHEN RED SOX VISIT YANKEES

It's always a great game when the Boston Red Sox take on the New York Yankees. That storied rivalry will feature a pitcher's duel Sunday Night when Sox ace Clay Buchholz takes on Hiroki Kuroda of the Bronx Bombers in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN.

Both teams are at the top of the AL East standings, fighting it out once again for divisional supremacy. Though, it has to be said that both teams started out the season very well before cooling off. You know the Yankees just got swept FOUR STRAIGHT by the lowly Mets this week. The Red Sox have blown hot and cold lately...looking like World Champs when hot...but a generic also-ran when not.

That's added up to these records over the last 30 games...

LAST 30 GAMES
Yankees 16-14
Boston 15-15

The Yankees are getting some big names back on the field at just the right time based on that Mets debacle. Boston must aim for consistency if they're going to stay on top a very competitive division that also has the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays nipping at their heels. Your newspaper standings are suggesting the Yanks and Sox are two of the best teams in the American League. The records over the last 30 games have them more like .500 caliber, while teams like Texas, Oakland, and Tampa Bay have been much hotter through the month.

Both the Sox and Yanks want to get back into contending form immediately. Let's see how tonight's game might play out...

TONIGHT'S PITCHERS
Clay Buchholz: 7-0, 1.73 ERA, 1.05 WHIP
Hiroki Kuroda: 6-3, 2.39 ERA, 1.00 WHIP

Buchholz missed his last start because he strained a muscle while laying in bed! That sounds funny...but just you wait until you get older and that starts to happen to YOU a few times a month. The key to figure out with Buchholz is how much of his early season success was due to some shenanigans with an illegal substance, and how much was because he truly had become a dominating pitcher. He had a little rocky spell when the accusations first surfaced. He's calmed back down and started to pitch well again.

BUCHHOLZ'S LAST 3 STARTS
8 innings, 2 earned runs at Toronto
7 innings, 2 earned runs at Minnesota
7 innings, 1 earned run at the Chicago White Sox

It is worth noting that his strikeout rate has gone down lately. He only K'd 17 batters in those 22 innings, after punching out 56 in his prior 50.2 innings. Since those are relatively weak opponents he was just facing, that's something to pay attention to. He's still an ace with an asterisk!

Kuroda has been fantastic at home this year, where he's given C.C. Sabathia a run for his money as true ace of the staff.

KURODA AT HOME
9 innings, 0 earned runs vs. Baltimore
6 innings, 3 earned runs vs. Toronto
7 innings, 0 earned runs vs. Houston
8 innings, 0 earned runs vs. Toronto

That excludes his first start of the season when he had to leave a game early against these very Red Sox because of a minor injury. That's three goose-eggs in his last four home starts! And, Baltimore has an offense. Shutting down the Orioles is very strong indeed.

So, it's an ace-with-an-asterisk for Boston facing an ace-in-waiting for the Yankees in a game that all baseball fans will be watching with great interest.

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Aug

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