It's still a long shot but the Red Sox can keep alive their dream of catching the New York Yankees if they finish a three-game sweep Sunday night.
Boston has taken the first two games of the series, riding Jon Lester to a 7-3 win Saturday afternoon.
Daisuke Matsuzaka will look to break out of his doldrums when he goes for the Sox. Phil Hughes is on the mound for New York.
WHEN AND WHERE
Red Sox (86-68) at Yankees (92-63)
Sunday, Sept. 26, 8:05 p.m.
Yankee Stadium, Bronx
HEAD TO HEAD
The teams have split 14 meetings this season.
RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (9-6, 4.86 ERA) vs. RHP Phil Hughes 17-8, 4.38 ERA)
The struggling Matsuzaka has gone seven straight outings without recording a quality start. He nearly had one his last time out against Baltimore before Daniel Bard allowed a pair of inherited runners to come in.
Matsuzaka has walked 13 men in his last three starts and has lasted at least seven innings just once during the seven-game slump. The right owns an unsightly 6.31 ERA in eight starts vs. New York.
Sunday night's start was supposed to belong to Dustin Moseley after the Yankees decided to push Hughes back to Wednesday. But the powers that be in New York met on Saturday night and decided to go back to the original plan which would have Hughes on the mound for the series finale.
The 24-year-old righty has thrown a career-high 169 1/3 innings and is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in three starts against the Sox this season.
|Derek Jeter, SS
Nick Swisher, RF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, C
Lance Berkman, DH
Curtis Granderson, CF
Brett Gardner, LF
- Boston has won six straight road games.
- Right fielder J.D. Drew is batting .346 (18-for-42) against the Yankees this season.
- Shortstop Marco Scutaro is 7-for-13 (.538) with the bases loaded.
- Center fielder Curtis Granderson has 13 home runs in his last 40 games. He had 10 in his first 90.
- Shortstop Derek Jeter has a season-high 14-game hitting streak.
- New York has lost four straight home games for the first time this season.
BLACK AND BLUE
- First baseman Mike Lowell was removed from Friday's game after taking a ground ball off his right temple. He showed no signs of a concussion and is day-to-day.
- Second baseman Dustin Pedroia had season-ending surgery Sept. 3 on his broken left foot. He is expected to be fully healed for spring training.
- Outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (ribs) will not resume any baseball-related activities until after the season ends.
- Center fielder Mike Cameron had season-ending surgery to repair an abdominal tear.
- First baseman Kevin Youkilis had successful surgery to repair the torn right adductor muscle on his right hand. He will miss the remainder of the season.
- Left-hander Felix Doubront has pain behind his left clavicle. He will not pitch again this season but hopes to throw a bullpen session before the regular season ends.
- Right-hander Junichi Tazawa underwent Tommy John surgery in March. He is out for the year.
- Designated hitter Nick Johnson is out for the year with an inflamed right wrist tendon.
- Right-hander Alfredo Aceves will not return due to a strained lower back.
- Left-hander Damaso Marte is on the 60-day DL with left shoulder inflammation.
Many fans, observers and pundits gave up on the Red Sox several weeks ago. With a win Sunday they might be forced to pay attention once again. With a loss, however, it is just about over. That's how thin the margin for error is.