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Statement series

Posted by David Lefort, Boston.com Staff  May 21, 2007 09:21 AM

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With the Yankees 10½ games behind the Red Sox, there’s a sense of urgency to this week’s series between the rivals.

However, after 11 seasons of AL East domination, it’s the Yankees feeling the pressure, trying to remain relevant so that their investment in Roger Clemens isn't relegated to a too-little, too-late $28 million mistake before he even throws a pitch. For their part, the Bombers will throw their top three starters against Boston this week -- Chien-Ming Wang tonight, Mike Mussina tomorrow, and Andy Pettitte on Wednesday.

Are the rolling Red Sox concerned?

"We don't need to worry about nobody right now," David Ortiz said yesterday. "Everybody needs to worry about us."

On that note, we’ll take a spin around the web to see what the pundits are saying about this week’s Sox-Yankees tilt:

  • From The Boston Globe’s Bob Ryan:

    "When the Yankees, who host the Red Sox for three games beginning tonight, have pitched, they haven't hit. When they've hit, they haven't pitched. And they very often look old in the field, which isn't all that surprising, given the only everyday regular in his 20s is second baseman Robinson Cano.

    "And the luck? Don't ask."

  • From The Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo, in his Sunday notes column:

    "This is as bad as it's been in the Joe Torre era in New York. There has been a series of missteps by management and a lot of misfortune through injuries early in the season.

    "General manager Brian Cashman is smack in the middle of the firestorm. His philosophy was well intended. He wanted to get younger -- a noble endeavor in any organization -- and he thought he could do it by trading veterans like Randy Johnson and Gary Sheffield. What he didn't anticipate was Johnny Damon being injured, Bobby Abreu's game declining, and the rash of injuries to his pitching staff."

  • From the Boston Herald’s Steve Buckley:

    "We’re grown accustomed to every Red Sox-Yankees game being riveting, stop-the-presses stuff. We assume the entire nation -- the world, even -- tunes in when these two go at it. It’s the Baseball Border War, with the whiz kids from ESPN and Fox being ever vigilant in their quest to make sure we see countless replays of Zimmer vs. Pedro, Fisk vs. Munson, A-Rod vs. Varitek, etc., as a setup to each game.

    "And then the voiceover guy says, ‘It’s the Red Sox. It’s the Yankees. When these two teams go at it ...’

    "Not this time. Not with the Red Sox, 6-3 winners over the Braves yesterday at Fenway Park, holding a double-digit lead over the rest of the pack in the American League East. Not with the Yankees so banged up that it’s just a matter of time before pitching coach Ron Guidry is asked if he can go an inning or two in middle relief."

  • From The New York Times’s Joe LaPointe:

    "[Jason] Varitek, when asked whether this was a good time to play the Yankees, said: ‘It’s a good time to face everybody.’"

    While heading into the Bronx with a swagger, the Red Sox aren’t yet counting their chickens:

    "‘Remember two years ago when they were 11-19 and people counted them out?’ Francona said. ‘They ended up tying us.’

    "In that season, both teams finished 95-67, but the Yankees were awarded the division title and the Red Sox the wild card. Boston had been in first place by five and a half games on Aug. 10 and led the Yankees by six and a half games on June 26.

    "So Francona has reason for his caution. His teams tend to start fast and fade. New England fans also have memories of the 1978 Red Sox, who led the AL East by 14 games in mid-July but lost the title in a one-game postseason playoff to the Yankees, who had risen from fourth place."

  • From the New York Post’s Larry Brooks:

    "This week, Yankees-Red Sox isn't about the rivalry and it's not about hype. This week, Yankees-Red Sox is about the Yankees. It is about seizing the opportunity to win three games without having to look at the scoreboard and check out what Boston is doing.

    "It is still only May, but it is likely going to be the Yankees' best chance to make a last stand in the East. This is one Boston series they should embrace."

  • From Chad Finn’s "Touching all the bases" blog:

    "So tell me, which empire is more anxious right now: that decrepit, ancient dynasty crumbling in the Bronx, or Jordan's Furniture and its marketing wizards who, at least according to the accounts here, might be wondering if they made a multimillion-dollar miscalculation by pandering to Sox fans?"

  • Check out Boston Dirt Dogs' humorous blog entry previewing Sox-Yankees, and see what other Sox bloggers are writing about the three-game set.

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