The Yankees and Red Sox will open the 2010 baseball season this evening with a game under the lights at Fenway Park. It will be televised on ESPN2, while women’s college basketball teams from UConn and Baylor duke it out on ESPN. That’s a blog post for a different day. Here’s a look at tonight’s projected starters and lineups:
On the hill: CC Sabathia
The big lefty finished 19-8 last year with a 3.37 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 197 strikeouts in 34 starts, rewarding the Yankees for investing a monstrous contract in him during the 2009 offseason. He’s the ace of baseball’s most successful franchise and will look to get off to a positive start in 2010. Sabathia was 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA against the Red Sox last season and held their powerful lineup to a .172 collective batting average.
SS Derek Jeter
DH Nick Johnson
1B Mark Teixeira
3B Alex Rodriguez
2B Robinson Cano
C Jorge Posada
CF Curtis Granderson
RF Nick Swisher
LF Brett Gardner
On the hill: Josh Beckett
Beckett and the Red Sox are inching closer and closer to inking a four-year contract extension thought to be worth around $68 million, or about $17 million annually. The 29-year-old was 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 199 strikeouts in 2009 and will try to put his value on display this evening against the Yankees. He struggled against the Bombers last season, allowing 34 hits and 19 earned runs in five starts (32 innings).
LF Jacoby Ellsbury
2B Dustin Pedroia
C Victor Martinez
1B Kevin Youkilis
DH David Ortiz
3B Adrian Beltre
RF J.D. Drew
CF Mike Cameron
SS Marco Scutaro
There’s no shame in getting far too worked up for Opening Day. It’s silly, sure, but it’s only natural. The winter is long and rough in a lot of baseball cities and the arrival of the regular season tends to warm the soul, if not the actual ballparks in which over 2,500 games will be played during the next seven months. Tonight, it all begins with a singular but intriguing matchup between two longtime rivals. Let’s friggin’ do this.
Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz was childhood friends with Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, so it was expected when Diaz took time away from the team on Monday to visit Fernandez’s family in Miami. They grew up on the same street in Cuba and played for the same youth baseball team and both would ultimately wind up playing Major League Baseball in the United States.
In the bottom of the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Reds, Diaz hit a 2-1 Robert Stephenson fastball out to left-center field for a no-doubt grand slam. Teammate Yadier Molina gave Diaz a tight hug as he crossed home plate.
Before Tuesday’s game, Diaz said that the best way to honor Fernandez was to play with his passion, as MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports. Diaz said, “I only play for [Fernandez’s] family right now.”
Here’s the video.
The Red Sox would have clinched the AL East if one of two things happened on Tuesday night: the Red Sox themselves beat the Yankees, or the Orioles defeated the Blue Jays. Neither happened.
The Jays soundly took down the Orioles 5-1 behind six strong innings from Aaron Sanchez. Josh Donaldson went 2-for-2 with a two-run home run and a pair of walks and leadoff batter Ezequiel Carrera went 2-for-3 with a solo homer, an RBI single, a walk, and three runs scored.
Meanwhile, at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees outlasted the Red Sox for a 6-4 win, responding to both two-run innings the Sox had in the sixth and seventh with a run in the sixth and two in the seventh. Gary Sanchez hit his 20th homer of the season. Didi Gregorius and Tyler Austin also contributed dingers. Starter Luis Cessa pitched well, limiting the Sox to two runs over six innings on five hits and a walk with two strikeouts. Red Sox starter David Price struggled, yielding six runs in 6 1/3 innings. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard got into trouble in the ninth inning but was able to wiggle out of trouble to finish out the game.
Once again, the Red Sox will be able to clinch the AL East on Wednesday with a win over the Yankees or a Blue Jays loss to the Orioles.