Red Sox, Yankees open 2010 season with a bang

There’s really no other way to open up a baseball season then to pit the Yankees and Red Sox against each other on national TV, which the MLB did last night.

The BoSox’s Dustin Pedroia had a two-run homer and an RBI single to power Boston past New York 9-7 in a wild opener. The Red Sox overcame an early 5-1 deficit thanks to timely hitting by Pedroia, Kevin Youkilis and newcomer Adrian Beltre. The biggest hit came off Pedroia’s bat when he took a Chan Ho Park pitch over the Green Monster in the seventh inning, giving him dingers on consecutive Opening Days now.

As usual for this time of year, the starting pitching was spotty. CC Sabathia went 5.1 innings, allowing five runs on six hits while striking out four. Josh Beckett only went 4.2 innings while giving up five runs on eight hits and allowing two home runs. He struck out only two batters.

Game 2 of this three-game series will be played on Tuesday.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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2010 MLB Preview: AL East

In order to help get you ready for the MLB season, we’re doing division-by-division rankings with quick overviews on how each club could fair in 2010. Next to each team, you’ll also find a corresponding number written in parenthesis, which indicates where we believe that club falls in a league-wide power ranking. Be sure to check back throughout the next two weeks leading up to the season, as we will be updating our content daily. Enjoy.

All 2010 MLB Preview Content | AL East Preview | AL Central Preview | AL West Preview | NL East | NL Central | NL West

First up is the AL East.

1. New York Yankees (1)
If you think I would get cute in these rankings and suggest that some upstart team would derail the Yankees this season, then you sir, are sadly mistaken. I just don’t have the conjones to bet against them, especially after they added Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson to their already stacked roster. Sure they lost World Series MVP Hideki Matsui and Johnny Damon, the latter of which loved to work the count and provided the Yanks with some pop over the last couple of seasons. But thanks to Granderson, Johnson, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Texeira, Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada, the lineup is still stacked from top to bottom. Vazquez, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mariano Rivera will once again highlight a strong pitching staff and assuming they don’t suffer any major injuries, there’s nothing to suggest that the Bombers won’t make another championship run. That said, let’s not be oblivious to the potential problems that could arise for the Yanks this season. Age is a factor, as is the fact that Granderson can’t hit lefties and will be under the spotlight as the club’s biggest offseason acquisition. Plus, for as good as Vazquez was over the past couple of years, he was a disaster the last time he wore pinstripes (Boston fans remember this well.) Should the Yankees win another World Series? Yeah – especially considering they have the best-purchased roster in baseball. But just like last year, they still have to prove it between the lines and they’re not immune to hurdles getting in their way.

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2010 Fantasy Baseball Rankings: Third Basemen

All 2010 Fantasy Articles | 2010 Position Rankings

Savvy fantasy drafters realize that the pool for third basemen this year isn’t as shallow as catchers and shortstops, but it isn’t as deep as second basemen either (which may sound surprising to some owners).

What does that mean to you? Well, if you don’t grab one of the top seven or eight third basemen in your draft, then good luck trying to figure out which player after that will exceed expectations.

Drafting third basemen is pretty cut and dry. If you don’t land one of the top 3 (Alex Rodriguez, Evan Longoria or David Wright), then focus on drafting one of the next five 3B’s available or you better hope that Gordon Beckham or Ian Stewart are the ultimate sleepers this season. We don’t need to sell you on why you should take A-Rod, Longoria or Wright, so we’re going to concentrate on the next five rated players on our list, which we’ve highlighted for you below.

Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals
There’s a good chance that Zimmerman will plateau at around 30 home runs (which is nothing to scoff at), but it’s hard to argue with what he’ll bring to the table in terms of production across the board. He should hit around .300 (or maybe a little south of that number), with 100-plus runs and RBI, all while stealing 5-10 bases and hitting the aforementioned 25-30 home runs. That’s solid production for your third base position if you happen to miss out on one of the top three guys.

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Youkilis suspended five games, won’t appeal

The Boston Herald is reporting that Kevin Youkilis has been suspended five games after charging the mound and throwing his helmet at Tigers’ starter Rick Porcello (who has also be suspended five games) in the second inning of Boston and Detroit’s game on Tuesday night. Youkilis won’t appeal the suspension.

Red Sox manager Terry Francona said that Kevin Youkilis will indeed start serving his five-game suspension tonight.

The first word out of the clubhouse was that Youkilis, who along with Tigers pitcher Rick Porcello was suspended five games for their altercation last night, was going to appeal Major League Baseball’s penalty. Youkilis was in the Red Sox’ original lineup.

But Francona, on his way up to his pregame press conference, mentioned that Youkilis will instead honor the suspension and sit the next five games.

Youk = everyday player suspended for five games.

Porcello = starting pitcher suspended for five games.

Advantage: Tigers.

Here’s the video of Youkilis charging the mound (with complimentary rock music). Take notice of the sissy helmet throw and how the 200-pound Porcello hip-tosses the 220-pound Youkilis to the ground.

Red Sox trade two minor leaguers for Pirates’ Adam LaRoche

The Red Sox found their answer for spelling the oft-injured Mike Lowell as they traded for Pirates’ first baseman Adam LaRoche on Wednesday. Pittsburgh acquires minor leaguers Argenis Diaz and Hunter Strickland in the exchange.

This isn’t going to be a move that sets Boston apart from the Yankees or Rays in the AL East, but on the days Lowell needs to rest his fickle body, Kevin Youkilis will slide over to third and LaRoche – who is an upgrade over Mike Kotsay – will play first. BoSox fans aren’t going to do back flips in the streets after this move (especially considering LaRoche is hitting below .250 and his defense is below average), but they didn’t give up much and he gives them a better bat than Kotsay in a three-man platoon with Youkilis and Lowell.

As for the Bucs, they did well getting two young players for LaRoche, who becomes a free agent after this season and wasn’t going to be worth bringing back anyway. Garrett Jones (who apparently is Mickey Mantle of all a sudden) can now slide over to first to fill LaRoche’s vacant spot in the field.

Comment fodder: Are the Red Sox done, or will they still pursue another bat? And now that they’ve shipped LaRoche out of town, is Freddy Sanchez the next one to be traded by Pittsburgh?

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