BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA
Round 1 slated for Fenway
The Yankees and Red Sox are both hot at the right time, as they enter their first clash of the season against each other at Fenway Park this weekend.
Alex Rodriguez looks like he's going to have the season that every Yankees fan has been waiting for since his being acquired from the Rangers prior to the 2004 season. But MVP awards are not won in April and Rodriguez will have to show he can perform against the best of the best before he completely wins everybody over. Speaking of which, the Red Sox are throwing their three best pitchers this weekend, so it should be a good test both for Rodriguez and the Yankees to see who has the upper hand in the early part of a rivalry that should stretch out to the final days of the regular season, if not beyond.
FORWARD THINKING: FRIDAY
• Cardinals at Cubs, 2:20 p.m. ET: In his first season in the majors as a starting pitcher, Braden Looper (2-1, 2.37) has pitched well thus far in three starts. He's allowed a total of five runs in 19 innings. Ted Lilly (1-1, 2.37) is coming off his best start of the season, having allowed just one run in six innings while striking out 10 against the Reds last Sunday.
• Phillies at Reds, 7:10 p.m. ET: Jon Lieber makes his first start of the season after replacing Brett Myers in the Phillies' rotation. Kyle Lohse is coming off a dazzling performance in his last start for the Reds, pitching eight shutout innings with 12 strikeouts in a 1-0 win over the Cubs.
• A's at Rangers, 8:05 p.m. ET: First-year Texas manager Ron Washington faces off for the first time against an Oakland team with whom he served as a coach for the past 11 seasons. Joe Blanton (1-0, 4.00) starts for the A's. He has a 3.97 ERA in two road starts thus far. In his three starts, Brandon McCarthy (1-2, 7.07) has given up a whopping 21 hits in 14 innings pitched.
NEWS AND NOTES
• Indians LHP Cliff Lee (strained right abdominal muscle) is scheduled to throw 70 pitches in a rehab outing with Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday.
• Twins CF Torii Hunter missed his second consecutive game with a bruised left shoulder.
• Cardinals 3B Scott Rolen sat for a second straight game as he recovers from food poisoning.
• Reds LHP Mike Stanton made his 1,118th career appearance, leaving him one behind John Franco for second place on the career list. Jesse Orosco holds the record at 1,252.
• Braves RHP Lance Cormier will make a rehab appearance on Sunday at Class A Rome. He's expected to throw between 40-45 pitches.