CC Sabathia’s Yankees are one of two teams that Ryan Dempster has never beaten.
Here are five stats to know going into tonight’s action at Fenway Park.
1. The Yankees are having their worst offensive season since 1990, but the recent addition of Alfonso Soriano and the return of Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson have helped. New York has averaged 5.2 runs per game with all three on the roster, nearly a run and a half better than they averaged in the first 110 games of the season.
CC Sabathia – A Season to Forget
2. CC Sabathia is having the worst season of his 13-year MLB career. He is posting career highs in ERA, home runs and hits per nine innings. His fastball is down 1.4 mph from last season and more than 3 mph from his first year with the Yankees in 2009.
3. Ryan Dempster is 0-5 with a 6.98 ERA in seven career starts against the Yankees. That’s his second-highest ERA against any opponent (he has a 7.62 ERA against the Los Angeles Angels), and the Yankees and Detroit Tigers are the only teams he hasn’t won a game against.
What should he focus on against the Yanks?
When Dempster needs an out, he goes to his Vulcan changeup, which acts like a splitter. This season, opponents are hitting .137 and striking out 35 percent of the time against the pitch.
4. The Red Sox have seen more pitches than any other team this season, nearly 1,000 more than the second-most. Six of the Red Sox starters are in the top 50 in the American League in pitches per plate appearance, and Boston has forced more starting pitchers out before the sixth inning than any team in the majors.
Based on their most common starting lineup, the Red Sox see nearly two more pitches each time through the order than the average American League team – 36.5 to 34.7.
Yankees RHB – Last 40 Games
5. Soriano has filled a major void in the Yankees’ lineup. Before his arrival, Yankees’ right-handed hitters hadn’t hit a home run in 26 games. In the 20 games since then, they’ve hit 14, with Soriano accounting for eight.
Odds and Ends
• Ichiro Suzuki is closing in on 4,000 professional hits. He is third among active MLB players with 2,717 hits and had 1,278 hits during his career in Japan.
• Mariano Rivera has blown three straight save opportunities for the first time in his career. According to Elias, since Rivera became the Yankees’ closer in 1997, 33 different pitchers have had at least one streak of three or more blown saves in the ninth inning or later in the same season.
• David Ortiz has 24 home runs this season. It’s his 11th 20-homer season since joining the Red Sox, tied for second most in franchise history behind Ted Williams. His next home run will give him nine 25-homer seasons.