Yankees hope to add to Red Sox' misery
The New York Yankees take aim at their first sweep at Fenway Park since 2006 this evening when they wrap up their three-game set against the struggling Boston Red Sox.
Rain, though, is in the forecast for Boston on Sunday and given what has transpired over the past few days, the Red Sox probably wouldn't mind an extra day to clear their heads.
After smacking five home runs to spoil the 100th anniversary celebration at Fenway in Friday's opener, the Yankees rallied from nine runs down on Saturday and scored 15 unanswered runs to stun the Red Sox, 15-9.
Nick Swisher hit a grand slam, Mark Teixeira had two homers and both players knocked in six runs for the Yankees, who scored seven runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings.
Swisher, Teixeira, Derek Jeter and Eduardo Nunez all had three hits in New York's third straight win, a streak that has vaulted it to the top of the American League East standings.
"That was pretty cool," Teixeira said of Saturday's come-from-behind win. "I've played a lot of games, and that may be the most fun regular-season game I've ever been a part of."
The Red Sox, who have lost five straight, used six pitchers in the last three innings after starter Felix Doubront went six strong. Manager Bobby Valentine was booed by the crowd during some of the later changes.
"Not a good three innings at the end," said Valentine. "Real good beginning. Felix was terrific. ... I don't think the outcome is going to destroy all the good things that happened."
The pitching staff as a whole has allowed 10 or more runs in four games this season, including two contests this week in which it allowed at least 15.
"I think we've hit rock bottom," Valentine said after Saturday's loss, the team's fifth straight. "If this isn't bottom, we need to find some new ends of the earth."
It doesn't get any easier for the Red Sox tonight, as it goes up against CC Sabathia, who is coming off his first win of the season. Sabathia gave up three runs in 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday against Minnesota to run his record to 1-0, while lowering his ERA to a still lofty 5.59.
"I just think he started to locate better. I thought his sinker became more consistent," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "He just started to make great pitches."
Sabathia has faced the Red Sox 20 times and is 7-9 with a 4.14 ERA.
Boston, meanwhile, will turn to righty Daniel Bard, the man most around Fenway are clamoring for to return to a bullpen that on Saturday surrendered 13 runs in two innings.
Bard, who is 2-1 in 27 relief appearances against the Yanks, has lost both of his starts this season and is coming off an outing on Monday that saw him surrender only one run in 6 2/3 innings. However, he also walked seven batters.
After tonight's contest the Red Sox start a seven-game road trip through Minnesota and Chicago. Valentine, though, doesn't seem to be in any imminent danger of losing his job.
"He makes the lineup out and he makes decisions during the game as to who's coming in," Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington said on Saturday. "The players will always influence wins and losses more than anybody else. And that's no different here."
The Yankees haven't pulled off a sweep at Fenway since taking all five games in a series from Aug. 18-21, 2006.