The New York Yankees, who had been doing so well recently winning games and helping their financial backers cash in on the MLB odds, just managed to escape from Tampa with one win this week. Now the Yanks head North to Beantown for a four-game series with their old friends, the Red Sox, featuring a day-night double-header Saturday.
The Yankees lost the first two games of their series in Florida with the Rays, and they were in trouble Wednesday, trailing Tampa ace David Price 3-1 going into the eighth inning. But New York pushed across three runs, the last two on a bases-loaded base hit by Robinson Cano, to take a 4-3 lead, and Rafael Soriano pitched a perfect ninth for his 19th save in 20 chances this season.
Boston, meanwhile, just completed a 2-5 West Coast road trip by getting swept three games by the A’s. Sox bats were put to sleep to the tune of just 14 total runs during their time in Seattle and Oakland.
The Red Sox continue to battle the injury bug. Dustin Pedroia missed Wednesday’s game with a sore thumb, and Will Middlebrooks has missed the last three games with a sore hamstring. And after waiting a year to get Daisuke Matsuzaka back, he returned to the DL earlier this week with a strained trap muscle.
Anyhoo, going into Thursday’s play New York, at 49-32, leads the AL East by five games over second-place Baltimore, and by 7.5 games over fourth-place Boston.
New York, without both CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, will throw Hiroki Kuroda (8-7, 3.17) at the Sox Friday, Phil Hughes (9-6, 4.29) and Freddy Garcia (2-2, 5.94) Saturday and Ivan Nova (9-3, 4.05) Sunday, while Boston will counter with Josh Beckett (4-7, 4.06), Franklin Morales (1-1, 2.51) and Felix Doubront (8-4, 4.42), and Jon Lester (5-5, 4.33).
The Yankees are 16-10 and averaging 4.5 runs per game against left-handed starting pitchers this season. They’ll face three of them this weekend.
In the only previous meeting so far this season between these teams the Yanks beat the Sox twice at Fenway back in April by scores of 6-2 and 15-9.