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|AND DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME!
By Bob Acton of Sportingbet USA – now SuperBook.com –
The Yankees and Red Sox battle is getting to the point wherewe begin to refer to the struggle for supremacy as a blink game,which means what it implies, as the first team to blink is donelike dinner. Both teams are doing it with superior offense andsuspect pitching and thats what makes this tussle a bugger tohandicap!
I dont even want to begin to imagine what next weekend willbe like in Beantown when the Red Sox invite Jeter, Gonzalez andthe rest of the clan over for the last kick at the can. Bostongoes for the sweep in Tampa tonight and after scoring 15 lastnight, they may have wished they had saved a few hits for tonightsstarter lefty Scott Kazmir. He is 2-1 against the Red Sox in hiscareer with a very nice 2.18 ERA in 33 innings of work, but thebase on balls need to be limited, as he has allowed 90 free passesin 176 innings this season.
The Red Sox are smiling though as they send Tim Wakefield tothe hill and this guy is money in the till when facing Tampa.Boston’s veteran right-hander will shoot for his 14th win in 15career decisions against Tampa Bay when the AL East-leading RedSox continue a three-game series at Tropicana Field.
Wakefield, who has emerged as Boston’s surprisingstaff ace this year, leading the team in victories and ERA, is13-1 with a 2.86 ERA in 28 career appearances, including 18 starts,against the Devil Rays.
He didn’t dominate Tampa Bay at Fenway Park onAug. 31, but still emerged with a 7-6 win after allowing fiveruns and six hits over eight innings. Wakefield’s wins againstTampa Bay are his most against any opponent except Detroit. Heis 13-8 with a 4.43 ERA in 30 career appearances against the Tigers.
Wakefield is 6-0 with a 1.79 ERA in 15 careeroutings, including nine starts, at Tropicana Field.
Meanwhile the Yankees will look to down the meekOrioles, before heading home to host the Jays. The Orioles had18 hits last night, but lost for the 20th time in 30 games andin the process lost catalyst Brian Roberts with a dislocated elbow.
Randy Johnson gets the start and believe it ornot he has a career losing record against the Orioles, going just6-7 in 20 games started. He was tossed from his last start forarguing balls and strikes, but I watched that game and he wasall over the place with his pitches.
He should bounce back tonight against a lethargicOrioles team that is playing out the string!
Considering the way Aaron Boone started the seasonfor the Indians, he is really stepping up when it counts in Septemberas he is 9-15 in the past 4 games and has a couple of dingersas well. The Indians send Scott Elarton to the mound and I dontcare for the guy, but he has won three in a row and allowed just15 hits in the last 21 innings.
White Sox starter John Garland has been veryinconsistent of late and has not fared well career wise againstthe Tribe going 5-8 in 15 starts with an ERA of 5.81.