NEW YORK — From their winning ways to their rabid fan base to their pumped up payrolls, the Red Sox and Yankees are compared on many fronts.
On Wednesday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, they found themselves mired in almost identical situations involving a handful of injuries.
Both teams were forced to place a hard-throwing right-handed reliever on the disabled list. It was Bobby Jenks (back) for Boston and Joba Chamberlain (elbow) for New York. Also, with Red Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia sick at a local hospital and Yankees catcher Russell Martin sidelined with a sore back (and emergency catcher Jorge Posada out with a family issue), both teams entered the first of two straight stifling nights in The Bronx with just one backstop.
While New York manager Joe Girardi felt that he might be able to use Martin in a pinch and that Posada would be back soon, the Red Sox were left with nobody to back up starting catcher Jason Varitek. Terry Francona said that Darnell McDonald was the emergency catcher, but he is rehabbing in Pawtucket. That left Drew Sutton as a potential fill-in until the club called up Luis Exposito to take Jenks' spot on the DL.
"We've got a lot going on right now," Francona said, also referencing the fact that infielder Jed Lowrie was awaiting word on an MRI taken on his ailing left shoulder.
The silver lining for the Yankees was the fact that Mark Teixeira, who was hit in the right knee by a Jon Lester pitch and left Tuesday's game, was able to go.
Still, Girardi has a two-man bench and is now without his two setup men for closer Mariano Rivera. Chamberlain joins Rafael Soriano on the DL. The club has brought in two new arms in advance of Wednesday's affair and everyone else gets bumped up one notch in front of Rivera.
It places an extreme amount of importance on the start of A.J. Burnett, especially one day after fellow starter Freddy Garcia lasted just 1 2/3 innings.
"I think it's important that A.J. gives us some distance tonight, especially the way we had to use the bullpen yesterday," Girardi said. "I think it is important. Every club is going to go through injuries and you've got to find a way to get through it. One of those ways to get through it is by what your starter does that night."
It may also mean avoiding a physical issue for 24 hours, something these teams have struggled with over the first two days of the series.