Yankees-Red Sox Preview
Thanks to a seven-game winning streak, the New York Yankees are
appropriately tied atop the AL East with the Boston Red Sox heading
into the rivals’ weekend series at Fenway Park.
However, if the Yankees are to win a season-high eighth straight
contest Friday night, they must snap a seven-game skid to the Red
Sox and avoid yet another loss to Jon Lester.
Though Boston has outscored New York 60-37 to win eight of the
first nine meetings, the Yankees are 35-15 since being swept by the
Red Sox in the Bronx from June 7-9. Boston is a solid 32-16 since
that series, allowing the rivals to separate themselves from the
rest of the division with identical AL-best 68-42 records.
“We are excited. We feel like we have a great team and so do
they,” said Boston second baseman Dustin Pedroia, batting .439 in
his last 10 games. “We are trying to win the division. It’s a great
division we are in and that’s what makes baseball fun.”
The Red Sox had been alone in first place since July 7 before
“I think it says that we’ve been playing well,” said Yankees
manager Joe Girardi, whose team’s only win over the Red Sox came at
Fenway on April 9. “We’ve been chasing them for awhile now. It just
says a lot about this club and what we’ve been through. We’ve
overcome some things. It is significant.”
Though the Yankees are mired in their longest skid against the
Red Sox since dropping nine straight over the 2008-2009 seasons,
they enter this series confident because they’ve won seven in a row
overall while averaging 9.0 runs. New York totaled 31 during the
final three of a four-game sweep of the Chicago White Sox that
concluded with a 7-2 win Thursday.
Robinson Cano, who has homered in consecutive games, went 7 for
15 (.467) with seven RBIs against the White Sox. Fellow All-Star
Curtis Granderson also drove home seven runs in the series and is
batting .444 (12 for 27) over his last six contests.
Cano and Granderson, however, have batted a combined .220 with
12 strikeouts against Lester (11-4, 3.17 ERA), who is 8-1 with a
3.56 ERA in 14 starts versus New York.
The left-hander has won five straight outings against the
Yankees, posting a 2.51 ERA, but hasn’t dominated them this year.
He’s allowed seven runs and 13 hits in 12 innings over two outings,
though both were in the Bronx.
Lester is 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in two starts since leaving a
no-hitter after four innings with a strained muscle in his back
July 5. He allowed two homers and two other hits while striking out
eight in eight innings of a 10-2 win at Chicago on Saturday.
“We are fortunate to have Lester back in the rotation,” catcher
Jason Varitek said.
Lester looks to help the Red Sox bounce back after they fell 7-3
on Thursday to split a four-game home set with Cleveland. Jacoby
Ellsbury had two hits and is batting .376 with 26 RBIs his last 30
games, including game-winning hits in the ninth the previous two
He’s hit .444 (12 for 27) with a homer and five RBIs in his last
six games versus New York but is 1 for 5 against scheduled starter
Bartolo Colon (8-6, 3.30).
The veteran right-hander has lost both of his starts against the
Red Sox this year as he’s allowed five runs – three earned – in 10
Colon, though, has won his last two starts and has a 2.45 ERA
over his past three. He yielded two runs and struck out six while
laboring for 105 pitches in five innings of an 8-3 win over
Baltimore on Saturday.