Both the Red Sox and the Yankees will be sporting four-game winning streaks when they begin a highly anticipated weekend series at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Boston’s four-game run came at the expense of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who sauntered out of town after being battered around Fenway by the Sox.
Boston won the four games by a combined margin of 36-16. It showcased power, quality pitching and superlative defense, clicking at the right time with the mighty Bronx Bombers on the horizon.
The Yanks are coming off a three-game sweep of the Baltimore Orioles. They also took two of three at Fenway to start the season.
WHEN AND WHERE
Yankees (19-8) vs. Red Sox (15-14) Friday, May 7, 7 p.m. (NESN) Fenway Park, Boston
HEAD TO HEAD
The Yankees have won 11 of the last 13 meetings.
RHP Phil Hughes (3-0, 1.44 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Beckett (1-0, 6.31 ERA)
Beckett seemingly turned a corner after a rough April in his last start Sunday in Baltimore. Although the Red Sox lost in extra innings, Beckett was sharp, giving up two runs on six hits in seven innings. He struck out six and did not walk a batter for the first time this year.
Beckett’s crowning career achievement, of course, was his mastery of the Yankees in the 2003 World Series, but he has struggled a bit against the Bronx Bombers of late. In his last five starts vs. New York, Beckett has an ERA of 5.89.
Hughes has quietly been the best Yankees starter. He flirted with a no-hitter in his second start and tossed seven scoreless in his latest, a 12-3 win against Chicago over the weekend.
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
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
The Sox have tallied at least 11 hits in four straight games, their longest such streak since May 2008.
Of Jeremy Hermida‘s 15 RBIs this season, 14 have come with two outs.
The 24-game homerless drought that Victor Martinez ended Thursday was his longest since a 60-game stretch between the 2007 and 2008 seasons.
With his next game played, shortstop Derek Jeter will move into second on the Yankees’ all-time list ahead of Lou Gehrig. Jeter and Gehrig are tied with 2,163 games played. Mickey Mantle tops the list with 2,401.
Alex Rodriguez needs one home run to tie Frank Robinson for seventh on the all-time list.
Earlier this week, Joba Chamberlain became the first Yankee other than Mariano Rivera to record saves in back-to-back games since Juan Acevedo in April 2003.
BLACK AND BLUE
Left fielder Jacoby Ellsbury took swings in the batting cage for the first time Tuesday and has continued to do so all week as he continues to recover from rib/chest injuries. Ellsbury has been eligible to return from the DL since April 27.
Center fielder Mike Cameron, out with a sports hernia, has continued to increase the intensity of his workouts. Francona said a plan may be put in place by the end of the week for Cameron to return.
Righty Boof Bonser is scheduled to begin his second rehab stint with a start for Triple-A Pawtucket in Friday. Bonser struggled to get loose before a start on April 13 and was brought to Boston for tests. He was cleared to resume throwing and recently tossed three simulated innings.
Infielder Jed Lowrie has gained four pounds and is combining baseball-related activities with strength and conditioning this week for the first time since he came down with mononucleosis in March. Francona said he could be playing games again in about four weeks.
Center fielder Curtis Granderson is on the DL with a strained left groin. He is expected to miss the rest of the month.
Catcher Jorge Posada has missed two straight games with a strained right calf. He will be a game-time decision.
Starting pitcher Andy Pettitte left a start Wednesday after just 77 pitches with left elbow stiffness. An MRI showed some inflammation. The club will use caution as it approaches his next start, scheduled for Tuesday.
Reliever Chan Ho Park remains on the DL with a right hamstring injury.
The Sox have been incredibly streaky and inconsistent thus far. Now would be a good time to buck that trend and keep alive this current hot stretch.
A key in the opener will be trying to get to Yankees starter Phil Hughes, who has been one of the best pitchers in baseball so far but has been hammered at Fenway.
In just seven innings at the old ballpark, Hughes has been reached for nine runs.