Originally posted on Bronx Pinstripes  |  Last updated 7/27/12

Phil Hughes kicks off this weekends rivalry action by getting the start in game one tonight in the Bronx

Not many people would’ve predicted that going into a series at the end of July, there would be a 10.5 game gap between AL East rivals, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. Despite an unimaginable amount of adversity stacked against the Yankees all season long, they’ve fought their way to the top of the division and have maintained steady control of it. Meanwhile, the Red Sox haven’t enjoyed nearly the same success as they’re currently at the bottom of the division, and seemingly continue to dig themselves deeper as the season goes on.

With both teams holding the positions they currently do, does it make this weekends upcoming series any less heated, or any less significant. Probably not. Both teams always seem to bring out the best in each other when they square off, regardless of the situation. It comes down to bragging rights for both sides, the clubs as well as well as their respective fans and this is an opportunity for the Red Sox to either make known that they aren’t going to lie down, or for the Yankees to prove their superiority and bury their rival, perhaps permanently after this series is said and done.

The three-game set between the familiar foes kicks off tonight at 7:05 p.m. at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx with a less-than spectacular pitching matchup. Phil Hughes takes the mound for the Yankees and his mediocre season to go along with his sub-par track record against Boston, could mean there’s a long night ahead. After a great month in June, he’s having an equally bad July but can turn it around tonight by bouncing back from going 0-2 in three starts this month. At 9-8 with a 4.09 ERA, Hughes has plenty of room for improvement. Opposing pitcher, Aaron Cook doesn’t have much experience against the Bombers which may be a disadvantage as they have been teeing off on Boston pitching all year.

Saturday afternoon action in the Bronx features Yankee ace, C.C. Sabathia, versus Jon Lester for the Red Sox. In the lefty against lefty matchup, Sabathia is clearly the standout at 10-3 and 3.30 ERA, compared to Lester’s 5-8 record and poor 5.46 ERA. Sabathia has been the rock in the Yankee rotation which has had its share of injury issues an the consistency should continue this weekend as he looks to lift the team higher above their competition.

The battle continues on the main stage as the third game is highlighted with Sunday night honors. Hiroki Kuroda has handled his new starting role in New York pretty well so far. He’s progressed with the season and currently sits at 10-7, 3.34 ERA and is coming off consecutive wins. He hasn’t faired well against his new rival but will look to change that on Sunday. On the mound for Boston will be Felix Doubront, who is also new to this rivalry and comes in hot as well winning two of his last three games, one of which was against the Yankees.

The action has been continuous every time these teams have faced off this year and seemed to have bring the big bats out of both dugouts for dramatic high-scoring affairs. Just because the two teams aren’t in a very tight race at this point, doesn’t mean it’ll be any less intense in the Bronx this weekend.



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