Red Sox-Yankees Preview

The Boston Red Sox are doing their best to make the AL East race

a three-team affair.

The Red Sox will try to hand CC Sabathia his first home loss in

more than a year Saturday when they continue a four-game road

series against the New York Yankees.

Boston (63-47) won 6-3 on Friday, pulling within five games of

the first-place Yankees (67-41) and 4 1/2 of Tampa Bay in the East.

Clay Buchholz pitched into the eighth inning, and David Ortiz and

Ryan Kalish homered for the Red Sox, who have won eight of 11

overall and four straight on the road.

“We have to keep on winning – have to keep winning games,”

Ortiz said. “Everything else takes care of itself.”

Ortiz has hit safely in 14 of his last 15 games, batting .317

with six homers and 14 RBIs in that span. That kind of production

is sorely needed, as Boston is missing Kevin Youkilis for the rest

of the year with a thumb injury while the timetable remains murky

for the return of former AL MVP Dustin Pedroia (foot).

The Red Sox will try to saddle Sabathia (13-5, 3.19 ERA) with

his first regular-season loss at Yankee Stadium since July 2, 2009,

against Seattle. He’s 12-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 17 outings in the

Bronx since, not counting last year’s postseason.

The ace left-hander, though, has dropped his last two outings

overall and will also be trying to avoid losing three straight

starts for the first time since April 5-16, 2008, with Cleveland.

He gave up three runs over 6 2-3 innings in Sunday’s 3-0 road loss

to the Rays.

Sabathia, who had won nine straight decisions before the losses,

has issued 14 walks in his last four starts.

“My fastball command hasn’t been good since the All-Star break,”

he said.

Sabathia has no decisions and a 4.76 ERA in three starts against

Boston this year. He’s probably fortunate that he won’t have to

worry about Youkilis, who went 4 for 5 off Sabathia in those

games.

Jorge Posada will likely be back in New York’s lineup after

Lance Berkman served as the designated hitter and Francisco

Cervelli caught Friday. Cervelli dropped a popup that led to three

unearned runs.

“Someone’s got to catch it. That’s the bottom line,” manager Joe

Girardi said

Captain Derek Jeter is poised to pass a former Yankee legend.

Jeter singled in the first Friday for his 2,873rd hit, tying Babe

Ruth for 39th on the all-time major league list.

Jeter (.348), Posada (.387) and Mark Teixeira (.380) have all

enjoyed success against Red Sox starter John Lackey (10-6, 4.48) in

the past.

Lackey will try to shake off a poor outing. He gave up six runs

over 5 1-3 innings in Monday’s 6-5 loss to Cleveland, a step back

after he’d gone 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA in his previous three

starts.

The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.76 ERA in his seven

regular-season outings against the Yankees since the start of 2007,

limiting Alex Rodriguez to one hit in 19 at-bats during that

span.

This is Lackey’s first regular-season start at the new Yankee

Stadium. He allowed four runs in 5 2-3 innings in a 4-1 loss for

the Angels in Game 1 of last year’s AL championship series.