The AL-leading Boston Red Sox are thrilled that 13 of their first 16 games after the All-Star break will be at home.
The New York Yankees are mired in fourth place in the AL East and have to be hoping they can duplicate last year's success at Fenway Park -- which they haven't visited in 2013.These longtime rivals open a three-game set Friday night, and star second baseman Robinson Cano is expected to play for the Yankees after leaving the All-Star game with a leg injury.Boston (58-39) starts a seven-game homestand against New York and second-place Tampa Bay in its first game at Fenway since July 4. The Red Sox lead the Rays by 2 1/2 games in the East."The most important thing for us is that we get off the road, we get back into this ballpark and feed off the energy of the people here in Fenway," manager John Farrell said. "We're looking forward to the start of this homestand."The Yankees (51-44) are six games back as they start a seven-game road stretch that includes a series with Texas.New York's primary concern this week was the condition of Cano. He hobbled off the field after being hit on the right leg by a pitch from Mets ace Matt Harvey in the first inning of Tuesday's All-Star game.X-rays were negative, and Cano said it was a bruised quadriceps. He indicated that Yankees head athletic trainer Steve Donohue says he will be fine."Oh, yeah, they called Steve and everything is good with them," Cano said. "They said just put ice on it, the X-ray was negative, and get some rest."Cano has two singles in 19 at-bats against Boston this year, with New York losing four of six. He only batted .200 last season at Fenway after entering the year with a career .355 average in Boston, but the Yankees captured seven of nine meetings.While Cano is expected to play, fellow infielder Derek Jeter will not after the Yankees placed the veteran shortstop on the disabled list Friday with a strained quad. Jeter suffered the injury in his only game after missing the entire season recovering from a broken ankle, suffering the injury in the eighth inning of an 8-4 victory over Kansas City on July 11.The Red Sox lead the majors in numerous offensive categories, most notably runs (498), extra-base hits (338) and walks (357).Those are departments in which the injury-plagued Yankees are lagging behind. New York is tied for 20th in runs with 373, is 28th in extra-base hits with 234 and 16th in walks with 273. The Yankees finished third in the major leagues in walks last year."We've got to be more consistent offensively," manager Joe Girardi said. "And if we do that, we're going to have a shot. But that's probably what we need to do, more than anything."The season series has demonstrated how Boston has gotten contributions from different sources this year. Mike Napoli has a team-high six RBIs and Daniel Nava is second with five while Jose Iglesias owns a team-best 12 hits.Napoli is looking forward to his first taste of this rivalry in Boston."I haven't experienced that yet," he said. "I'm pretty sure the atmosphere is going to be (great). I'm looking forward to it and I'm sure (Friday) is going to be a fun day."Both teams will start left-handers with Boston's Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91 ERA) matching up with Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39).Doubront allowed one run over six innings June 1 to earn an 11-1 victory over the Yankees, giving him a 2-1 mark and 2.32 ERA in five starts against them.Cano is 1 for 14 off of him.Pettitte has gone 2/3 with a 5.35 ERA over his last six starts, although he won the last two. He earned a 4-2 victory over Boston on April 4 by yielding one run over a season-high eight innings.The veteran last pitched at Fenway in 2010. He's 7-3 with a 4.05 ERA in 17 regular-season starts there.Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz is 21 for 56 (.375) with one homer against Pettitte.
Friday was the Yankees' 5th loss vs the Red Sox this season, already matching their total for ALL of last season.
The offense has been the primary issue. The Yankees are averaging four fewer runs per game this season and they've been held without a homer 5 times, including Friday...
New York was held homerless in just 3 of the 18 games vs Boston last season.
Andy Pettitte: allowed 4 runs or more for 7th straight appearance, matching his career-long such streak, previously done in 1998
Jacoby Ellsbury HR (4) off Andy Pettitte was his 1st against a lefty since September 27 2011, the 2nd-to-last game of the 2011 season.
Since that game, he'd gone 256 straight PA against lefties without a HR.