On Deck: Beckett, Sabathia poised for showdown
Posted on: May 14, 2011 10:30 am
By Evan Brunell
BEST MATCHUP: For the second straight day, Red Sox-Yankees highlight the proceedings. It's not East Coast bias, honest. It's the fact that Josh Beckett and CC Sabathia are going up against each other, and it's real hard to ignore their numbers on the season. This is shaping up to be a fantastic pitcher's duel as Beckett has roared back from a forgettable 2010 season to post a 1.99 ERA so far. Yep, his ERA is under 2.00, which places him third in the AL. He'll be opposed by Sabathia, who has been excellent as well with a 2.89 ERA for the Bombers. While the Red Sox can't reach .500 with the victory, they can strike panic in the heart of the Bronx by pulling to one win behind the club even if they'll remain two games back. That's because the Red Sox have played two more games on the year. Red Sox at Yankees, 7:10 p.m. ET
CUETO'S BACK: Another game repeat from Friday's On Deck, but this one is a game the Cardinals have been wanting for a while. There's no love lost for Cueto in the Cardinals clubhouse. It's Cueto's first time on the mound since ending backup catcher Jason LaRue's career after a series of kicks to the head (yes, this really happened) during a brawl last August where Cueto felt himself cornered and lashed out -- it's also just Cueto's second start of the year after beginning the year on the DL and shining in his debut. "I don't think our guys have anything more than going out there trying to beat him," Cardinals acting manager Joe Pettini told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "What happened last year, I think, still leaves a mark. I think they remember and think about it." A motivated StL team will send Kyle McClellan to the hill, who is undefeated in his conversion to the rotation with a 5-0, 3.30 mark. He'll find it tough to keep other thoughts from creeping into his mind; he's bailing to St. Louis right after the game as his wife is expected to give birth to his first child, a daughter, on Sunday. St. Louis at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m. ET
DIVISION AT STAKE: The Angels have lost two straight; the Rangers have won two in a row including taking out the Angels on Friday night 4-1. Texas can leapfrog Los Angeles into first place with a victory but will have a hard road. The pitching matchup says it all, with Derek Holland (3-1, 5.18 ERA) going up against Dan Haren (4-2, 1.87 ERA). Haren boasts the best K/BB ratio in the majors, non-Phillies division, which is how we'll have to describe most accomplishments for the next few years. Anyways, he's got an even 7.00 rate with 56 whiffs and eight walks in 57 2/3 innings. Yeah, good luck, Texas. Angels at Rangers, 4:10 p.m. ET
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