Strange schedule this year as the Yankees arrive at Fenway Park for a second time in a month while the Sox have yet to go to Yankee Stadium. Here are the lineups:
RED SOX (15-14)
Marco Scutaro SS
Dustin Pedroia 2B
J.D. Drew RF
Kevin Youkilis 1B
David Ortiz DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Jeremy Hermida LF
Jason Varitek C
Darnell McDonald CF
Pitching: RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.31).
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Randy Winn LF
Pitching: RHP Phil Hughes (3-0, 1.44).
Game time: 7:10 p.m.
TV/Radio: NESN, YES / WEEI, WCBS.
State of the Sox: Theo Epstein put it well yesterday, saying the team has drawn a collective breath. The Sox are coming off a four-game sweep of the Angels and have won 11 of 16 overall. They start the day 6.5 games behind Tampa Bay and five games behind the Yankees.
State of the 'stripes: The Yankees have won four straight and seven of their last eight. They are 1.5 games behind Tampa Bay.
Injury issues: The Yankees are feeling their age a bit. Mariano Rivera has not pitched for a week because of a stiff flank muscle on his left side. Jorge Posada last played on Monday because of a strained calf muscle. Andy Pettitte, who was not scheduled to pitch in this series, could be headed for the disabled list with an elbow issue.
Hitting their stride: The Red Sox have 11+ hits in each of their last four games. They are now third in baseball in OPS (.818) and sixth in runs scored with 150. They're third with 40 home runs.
Extra, extra: Red Sox fans should hope for nine innings. The Sox are 1-5 in extras.
Phil Franchise: Hughes is off to the best start of his career after moving from starter to the bullpen then back to starter. He is 0-2, 7.62 in eight career games against the Red Sox, two of them starts. His last start against the Sox was last May 4. He allowed three earned runs on seven hits and four walks over four innings.
Dustin Pedroia is 0 for 8 against Hughes and Marco Scutaro 2 for 8.
Beckett gets it back: Josh Beckett had had some ups and down this season. But he was sharp against Baltimore in his last start, allowing two runs over seven innings with no walks and six strikeouts.
Cano is 17 of 47 against Beckett with three homers. Teixeira is 3 of 23.
On the iPod right now: All Along The Watchtower by Jimi Hendrix.
Back with much more later on.
UPDATE, 4:06 p.m.: The Yankees have RHP Romulo Sanchez in the clubhouse. No word yet on a corresponding move.