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Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Will Sabathia's struggles vs Sox continue?

By Katie Sharp


AP Photo/Winslow Townson
Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against Boston in 2011. He's 17-3 with a 2.40 ERA vs. everyone else.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees resume their rivalry, with a three-game series starting Tuesday at Fenway Park. The Red Sox are 10-2 against the Yankees this season. It’s the first time Boston has won at least 10 games in a season against the Yankees since 2004 (11-8).

Four of those 10 losses by the Yankees have come with CC Sabathia on the mound (Sabathia will take the ball in the opener on Tuesday). Sabathia is 0-4 with a 7.20 ERA against the Red Sox and 17-3 with a 2.40 ERA against everybody else this season.

Why has Sabathia struggled so much against the Red Sox this season?

Left-handed batters: Red Sox lefties – Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, David Ortiz, Jacoby Ellsbury and Adrian Gonzalez - have hit .333 (16-48) with two home runs against Sabathia. All other teams’ left-handed batters have a .153 batting average with two home runs in 157 at-bats against Sabathia.

Falling behind: Sabathia fell behind more often and pitched in more hitters’ counts against the Red Sox (26 percent of batters faced) than against other teams (18 percent). As a result, he has had to rely on his fastball more often, which the Red Sox have crushed. All other teams have hit .264 against his heater, while the Red Sox batters hit .389 (21-54) in at-bats ending in the pitch.

Not fooled by his slider: The Red Sox have laid off his slider, swinging at 43 percent of those pitches overall and chasing 30 percent of them out of the zone. The rest of the league has swung at 52 percent of his sliders with a chase rate of 45 percent.

On the other side of the rivalry, Dustin Pedroia has excelled against the Yankees this season.

Pedroia, a career .313 hitter against the Yankees, is batting .439 with 10 RBI and nine walks in 11 games against them in 2011. He’s cooled off after the first two series, however. In the first seven games, he was 13-for-24 (.542), but is just 5-for-17 (.294) over the last five games in the series.