rubber game of the series. while noone is particularly pleased with RJ's performance of late, as well as the current state of the bullpen, this is as close to a must-win as a May game is going to get. Make it or break it time.
good news : we have Giambi and Sheffield back. there's a pretty good chance to see some fireworks against ramirez as well.
NYY: LHP Randy Johnson (5-4, 5.62 ERA)
The most astounding indication of Johnson's current struggle is that the 6-foot-10 left-hander, poison to same-side hitters when he is in a groove, is being hit at a higher rate by lefty hitters (.286) than right-handed batters (.271). Along with his good stuff, he would also like to regain his intimidation factor.
Johnson tries yet again to straighten himself out, having struggled in each of his past five starts and six of his last seven. Johnson was hit hard by the Red Sox on May 9, giving up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings, though only two of the runs were earned. The Big Unit has walked 15 batters in his last five starts, striking out 18.
BOS: RHP Matt Clement (3-3, 5.58 ERA)
Clement's only prior start against the Yankees in Fenway Park was an eyesore, as he allowed six runs in less than three innings of a 7-4 loss last July 16. He beat the Phillies in an Interleague game on Friday -- but he has not won consecutive starts since Aug. 29-Sept. 3 of last season.
Clement has been the model of inconsistency, alternating wins and losses for his last five starts. The common theme in his good starts has been late struggles. Twice he has thrown six scoreless innings, but he has ended up allowing a total of seven runs in those two games. In his last start, he held the Phillies to one run on three hits through six, but the right-hander gave up two more runs before departing in the seventh. Clement has not faced the Yankees this season and is 1-1 with a 5.54 ERA in three lifetime starts against New York.
Player to watch
Jason Giambi was benched Tuesday night on the tail end of a 6-for-40 spin that had lowered his average to .254. While not flat-out categorizing him as "tired," Torre felt it was time to give him a "blow." Giambi got two earlier "blows" this season and returned from those off days to go 4-for-7 with a pair of homers and four RBIs. Add the fact he hits Matt Clement well (four hits plus four walks in 13 plate appearances, with a homer and five RBIs) and keep an eye on him.
Ramirez has seven RBIs in the first two games of the series, including another four in Tuesday's loss. He is 5-for-8 with two homers in his last two games after a 4-for-27 skid in his previous eight games. Ramirez is still batting .339 with nine homers and 24 RBIs in his last 33 games to raise his batting average 99 points to .304.