Red Sox-Yankees Preview
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz isn't swinging the bat like a 40-year-old on the verge of retirement. Nobody knows that as well as the New York Yankees.
After tormenting his rivals last weekend, Big Papi will try to help Rick Porcello become the first Boston pitcher to win his first six starts in three years when the AL East leaders go after a 10th victory in 12 games Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
Though this is his final season, Ortiz is playing a leading role for a Boston team that has averaged 5.8 runs and hit .298 over the last 11 games. The designated hitter is batting .381 with three home runs, four doubles and 10 RBIs over his past 11.
His 451 homers are one behind Carl Yastrzemski for second on Boston's all-time list, and his 509 career home runs are tied for 25th in MLB history.
''He's been a great hitter for a long time,'' New York manager Joe Girardi said.
The eight-time All-Star hurt Girardi's last-place club in Boston's three-game sweep at Fenway Park. He hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Dellin Betances in the eighth inning of a 4-2 win last Friday.
Ortiz homered again in an 8-0 victory the next night and finished 5 for 11 in the series. He's gone 9 for 19 with five RBIs over a six-game hitting streak against New York (9-17).
''Games between us and the Yankees, everybody's on their toes,'' Ortiz said last weekend. ''It's enjoyable. Next year I'm going to be coming as a fan and feeling the same way.''
Ortiz has hit .310 with 54 homers in 241 games against New York, including the postseason. However, he's batted .237 with 12 homers in 52 at new Yankee Stadium.
The Red Sox (17-11) hope to keep putting up runs for Porcello (5-0, 2.76 ERA). The right-hander has an opportunity to become the first Boston pitcher to win six straight starts to begin a season since teammate Clay Buchholz in 2013.
Porcello is also looking to extend a 13 1/3-inning scoreless streak after allowing five hits and striking out six over seven Saturday. He's gone 5-2 with a 2.44 ERA in his last nine starts against New York dating to his time with Detroit.
Mark Teixeira has gone 4 for 23 against him, but Jacoby Ellsbury is 12 for 28 with four home runs and Carlos Beltran has gone 9 for 22.
The Yankees have scored two runs or less six times while dropping seven of eight. They managed four hits in Thursday's 1-0, 10-inning loss at Baltimore.
“We haven't hit, and it's not rocket science,” Teixeira told MLB's official website.
Starlin Castro, who had two of those hits, has gone 14 for 30 over an eight-game hitting streak against the Red Sox dating to his time with the Chicago Cubs.
Michael Pineda (1-3, 6.33) dropped his third straight decision Saturday when he allowed two runs, five hits and three walks over five innings while opposing Porcello. The right-hander is 3-2 with a 3.60 ERA in his last five meetings with Boston.
Jackie Bradley Jr., Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez homered in Thursday's 7-3 road win over the Chicago White Sox. Bradley is batting .350 with 10 RBIs over an 11-game hitting streak and Ramirez is hitting .324 with nine RBIs over a nine-game streak.