Yankees-Red Sox Preview

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees have created plenty of

memorable moments at Fenway Park heading into the venerable

stadium’s 100th anniversary.

The AL East archrivals, though, are both trying to shake off

uneven starts in their first series of the season Friday while

those centennial celebrations take place.

The teams met at Fenway for the first time on April 20, 1912,

when Tris Speaker’s 11th-inning single gave the Red Sox a 7-6

victory. While many former players will be in Boston for the

festivities, their iconic rivalry versus the Yankees has included

some of the sport’s enduring moments and images over a century of

baseball at Fenway Park:

– The “Curse of the Bambino” following Babe Ruth’s trade from

the Red Sox to the Yankees as the latter rose to power in the

1920s.

– Joe DiMaggio hitting safely twice at Fenway during his

still-standing major league-record 56-game hitting streak in 1941

while fellow Hall of Famer Ted Williams went 16 for 35 in 11 home

games versus New York en route to becoming the last player to hit

.400 that same season.

– The Red Sox beating the Yankees in the final game of the 1948

season at Fenway to knock them from the AL pennant race.

– The “Boston Massacre” in 1978 when the Yankees swept a

four-game road series as they erased a 14 1/2-game deficit in a

division race eventually decided on a three-run homer by Bucky

“Bleepin'” Dent over the 37-foot Green Monster in left field in a

one-game playoff at Fenway.

– Red Sox pitcher Pedro Martinez throwing Yankees bench coach –

and 1978 Red Sox skipper – Don Zimmer to the ground after he

charged from the bench during the 2003 AL championship series that

triggered a brawl.

– Dave Roberts’ steal of second base the following year in the

bottom of the ninth of Game 4 in the ALCS that ignited a Red Sox

rally to win that game and an eventual stunning seven-game series

victory after trailing 3-0. That led to the World Series title

which finally ended the “curse.”

”There’d be a revolution in this town if they got rid of Fenway

Park,” said Gary Bell, a pitcher on the 1967 ”Impossible Dream”

team that won the AL pennant after finishing ninth the previous

year. ”They can’t ever get rid of this place. Look at it. It’s

like a cathedral.”

The quirky dimensions of Fenway – the Green Monster, created in

1934 as part of a massive renovation project which stretches 228

feet in fair territory, the triangle in the deepest part of center

field 420 feet from the plate, the 302-foot short porch down the

right field line – all continue to endure and provide a distinct

home-field advantage for the Red Sox and targets for opposing

hitters.

“That’s what makes it different than anywhere else,” said

Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter, who has hit .256 with 15 home runs

in 136 regular-season and playoff games at Fenway. ”I still aim

for the wall. … That’s been my problem.”

Jeter has had few problems at the plate this season, carrying a

10-game hitting streak into Fenway while batting .373 overall. He

had an RBI single in the second and came around to score on the

second of Curtis Granderson’s three home runs Thursday night when

the Yankees (7-6) overcame a four-run first-inning deficit to beat

Minnesota 7-6.

“A lot of work went into today before we actually stepped onto

the field. Had some big issues with timing,” said Granderson, who

doubled his season home run total.

While Jeter is 5 for 18 lifetime versus scheduled Red Sox

starter Clay Buchholz (1-0, 9.82 ERA), Granderson has been unable

to solve the right-hander – going 0 for 11 with six strikeouts.

Buchholz gutted out a victory Saturday versus Tampa Bay, allowing

five runs and six hits in seven innings as the Red Sox pulled away

for a 13-5 win.

He is 2-3 with a 5.59 ERA in seven lifetime starts against the

Yankees, but facing them at Fenway has stymied Buchholz, who is 0-2

with a 6.14 ERA in three outings.

Boston (4-8) has dropped three straight on its nine-game

homestand after winning the first three. The Red Sox lost both

their games to Texas, including a 6-3 setback Wednesday.

“We didn’t pull it off in the end. We had some good at-bats,”

said Kevin Youkilis, who homered, to the team’s official website.

“It’s nice to hit a home run, but when you don’t win the ballgame,

it really doesn’t matter.”

Youkilis is 5 for 18 in his last five games after going 2 for 20

in his first five.

Yankees starter Ivan Nova (2-0, 4.15) hasn’t enjoyed much

success at Fenway with an 0-1 record and 6.75 ERA in two outings.

He was able to pitch with a big lead Sunday against the Los Angeles

Angels, yielding four runs and eight hits in six innings of an 11-5

victory.

The teams split eight games at Fenway last year, and the Yankees

hold a 55-54 edge there since the start of the 2000 regular

season.