Yankees-Red Sox is always overhyped and no matter what happens this weekend, the Yankees will have at least a 3.5 game lead. Really though, the Yankees only need to win 1 game this weekend to still be in control of the division. They have their pitching lined up perfectly. There is no excuse for them not to win a game or two.
I have to say, as much as I disliked much of what Joe Torre used to do as a manager, he understood these kind of series very well. I still remember in 2004 the Yankees went to Fenway in much the same situation – they just needed to win one game to keep control. Torre, in the very first game, went to Tom Gordon early on, asking both him and Mo to pitch more than an inning. Sure, Torre kills his relievers, but this is one case where I think it’s acceptable.
Looking at tonight’s game, if I’m Joe Girardi, I don’t play around. If Pettitte can hold a lead into the 6th inning, I don’t bring in anyone but Hughes or Rivera. Both are well rested. As a matter of fact, Hughes needs innings at this point. He’s good for 2. Mo is good for 1 and change. Does that mean you need to be careful with both guys the rest of the series? Of course. But the Yankees have AJ and CC going the next 2 games and, as I said, they only need to win 1 game to keep the division in check. If you get that one game tonight, you put all the pressure on the Red Sox, because they pretty much have to win the next 2 and have to beat 2 top notch pitchers to do it.
So while this weekend is not nearly as important as I’m sure it will be made out to be, I still think Girardi needs to lock down a win as soon as there’s a chance, which means no Aceves pitching in the 7th or 8th inning tonight in a close ballgame.