New York Yankees At Boston Red Sox...Games 10, 11, 12...***THE RETURN OF BIG PAPI***
Fenway Park will be in a festive and slightly combative mood Friday night as the Yankees, who are only three games in back of Boston and Tampa Bay, invade the old ballpark that is the home of the world champion Boston Red Sox. And the Red Sox will have a familiar bat in the lineup for the first time in what seems like ages. His name is David Ortiz, but we know him better as Big Papi. OUR Big Papi. What an ovation he'll get when he strides to the plate in the bottom of the first inning. In fact, I'll be standing too, hands banging together with a huge smile on my face! His teammate, JD Drew, had this to say about Big Papi's return...
“It’s like getting a huge trade at the deadline,” Drew said. “It’s David Ortiz. You’re not going to take that for granted for sure.”
“We’re in a fighting position without one of the two biggest pieces of the lineup,” he said.
The timing couldn't be any better for a big bat and a huge personality to return for the rest of the season and (hopefully) post-season. When he was sidelined, Boston was a game behind the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays. Now there is a virtual tie for the top spot as the Rays were soundly beaten by the KC Royals last night. The Yankees are in third place, three games back. These ball games are big, and they come on the heels of strong rumors that the pinstriped ones are seriously considering adding Barry Bonds to their depleted outfield. I say go for it...I'd love to see him play at Fenway Park. He'll be an easy out most of the time. I hope I don't have to eat those words, though.
Here are the all-important pitching pairings. Tonight's matchup is particularly intriguing. It's no secret that big, outspoken Joba Chamberlain is, for some reason, mad at Kevin Youkilis, as are most of the pinstriped fans. I hope Youk hits a bomb off him, maybe two. (More??)
Joba Chamberlain (2-3, 2.52 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (9-6, 3.98), 7 p.m., Ch. 20 (in CT), NESN, NESNHD (coverage begins at 5:30pm EDT, NESN & NESNHD only)
Andy Pettitte (11-7, 3.86) vs. Tim Wakefield (6-7, 3.69) , 3:55 p.m., FOX, FOXHD
Sidney Ponson (6-1, 4.02) vs. Jon Lester (8-3, 3.20), 8 p.m., ESPN, ESPNHD
There you have it. The weather should be just fine Friday and Saturday, with the humidity lessening as the hours dwindle to first-pitch time shortly after 7pm EDT. Sunday might feature some sort of showers, but it's hard to tell right now. There will not be any game postponing type of rain - that I promise you. Have a great Friday and a sweet weekend, and when you get home late this afternoon, fire up the grill, crack open a chillingly cold beverage (or three) and tune your television to NESN or, even better, NESNHD. It should be fun, a lot of fun. And Josh Beckett is due for one of his patented effortless eight inning gems. Paps can take it from there. Click on the title for more on this series from the New York point of view. It's always great to see what the other side, the dark side, has to say. And remember, always and forever, BE WELL.