Red Sox hope to break the brooms out on punchless Yanks

Boston right-hander Clay Buchholz tries to add to the misery of the New York Yankees on Sunday when the Red Sox go after a three- game sweep of their hated rivals at Yankee Stadium.

New York's offense has been putrid to start the year, as it is hitting just .193, including a .167 mark with runners in scoring position. It's the worst average through five games since the 1968 team batted .176.

It doesn't figure to get much better against Buchholz, who was brilliant against the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day. Buchholz had everything working against the Phils on Monday, as he scattered three hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings to get the win.

Buchholz, though, is just 5-7 lifetime versus the Yankees with a 5.64 ERA in 15 starts.

The Yankees, meanwhile, will hand the ball to its ace Masahiro Tanaka, whose dip in velocity has been the cause for great concern in New York. Already pitching with a partially torn elbow ligament, Tanaka absorbed the loss to Toronto on Monday, as he allowed five runs, five hits and two walks in four innings. He threw 82 pitches in that one, only 27, though, were fastballs, leading some to question whether or not he was protecting the elbow.

Tanaka was hammered by the Red Sox he faced them back on Sept. 27 to the tune of seven runs (5 earned) and seven hits in just 1 2/3 innings.

In fact, the Japanese right-hander has thrown only 11 innings since being diagnosed with the elbow injury and has given up 17 hits and 13 runs (10 earned).

New York's offensive woes continued on Saturday, as Joe Kelly came off the disabled list to get a career-high eight strikeouts and lead the Red Sox to an 8-4 win.

Kelly (1-0) retired the last 17 batters he faced, giving up one hit, one run and two walks to improve to 3-0 in three career starts against the Yankees.

"He really gave us a shot in the arm," Boston manager John Farrell said.

Kelly retired the Yankees in order between the third and seventh innings and Alexi Ogando got the first two batters in the eighth before giving up singles to Gregorio Petit and Brett Gardner. Chris Young followed with a three-run homer into the left-field seats to get New York within 8-4.

Until the eighth, the Yankees had more errors (3) than hits (1).

"Sometimes you get off to slow starts," said New York manager Joe Girardi. "It's difficult when you're not scoring early and you're playing from behind all the time."

New York won 12 of its 19 meetings with the Red Sox last season.