Red Sox return home to face rival Yankees
The Boston Red Sox return home after a disappointing road trip to face the New York Yankees in the first of three games at Fenway Park.
The American League East leaders managed just 23 runs in going 4-6 on a 10- game trip that included stops in Houston, Kansas City and Toronto. Still, the Red Sox sit atop the division, two games in front of the equally-struggling Tampa Bay Rays.
"We've got to go home and regroup," said Boston manager John Farrell.
Boston closed its trek in losing fashion on Thursday, as it dropped a 2-1 decision to the Blue Jays.
Jacoby Ellsbury drove in the lone run for the Red Sox, while starter Jake Peavy (9-5) allowed two runs on five hits over six-plus innings.
"I got away from the game plan a little bit and focused on getting ground balls and double plays," said Peavy.
Hoping to reverse their fortunes tonight the Red Sox will turn to lefty Felix Doubront, who is 8-5 with a 3.66 ERA. Doubront did not get a decision on Saturday in Kansas City, as he allowed three runs and six hits, but walked four batters in four innings of a 5-3 win.
Doubront has enjoyed tremendous success versus the Yankees this season, winning both of his starts, while posting a sparkling 1.46 ERA. Overall, he is 3-1 against them with a 2.36 ERA in 10 games (6 starts).
New York, meanwhile, has gotten itself back into the postseason mix with wins in five of its last seven games. However, the Yankees were denied a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on Thursday, dropping an 8-4 decision in the finale.
They start this series 8 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the division and six back in the wild card.
"It's playoff baseball for us right now," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "I think the guys enjoy the challenge, I really do. They understand what we have to do."
Alfonso Soriano continued his hot hand, going 4-for-5 with an RBI for the Yankees, while Vernon Wells added a late two-run double, and Robinson Cano totaled three hits with a run-scoring single in defeat.
Soriano is 10-for-14 with four homers and 14 RBI in the last three games, while Cano, who is one home run away from 200 for his career, has reached base safely in 13 of his last 16 plate appearances.
Getting the call for the Yankees will be left-hander Andy Pettitte, who is winless in his last five starts. Pettitte did not get a decision on Sunday against Detroit, as he allowed just one run and eight hits with three walks in 4 1/3 innings of his team's 5-4 win. He is 7-9 on the year with a 4.62 ERA.
Pettitte is 19-11 lifetime against the Red Sox with a 3.87 ERA in 41 games (39 starts).
Boston has won six of its nine matchups with the Yankees this season.