New York (63-39) at Boston (61-42)

Fair Currently: Boston, MA
Temp: 64° F
  • Game info: 8:05 pm EDT Sun Jul 27, 2003
  • TV: ESPN
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Jeff Weaver has had more than his share of chances to prove himself worthy of a spot in the New York Yankees’ rotation.

The embattled right-hander will get yet another when the AL East-leading Yankees complete what has been a heated three-game series with the rival Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

Weaver, who lost his starting role and wound up in the New York bullpen down the stretch last season, has received the undying support of manager Joe Torre this year. Torre gave Weaver a coveted spot in New York’s starting five out of spring training, but has yet to see any consistency from him.

Weaver has not posted consecutive wins since mid-April, and is 2-2 over his last four starts. He was pounded for five runs and a season high-tying 11 hits over 4 1-3 innings in Monday’s 8-0 loss to Toronto.

The dismal outing came after Weaver gained confidence with three straight respectable starts, yielding seven runs over 22 2-3 innings.

“If I win a few in a row, hopefully everything will be forgotten,” said Weaver, who was booed loudly at Yankee Stadium. “That’s the way it is here.”

A win in the decisive game of this series would be a huge boost to Weaver’s confidence.

After pulling out a tough 4-3 win in Friday’s opener, the Yankees were hung with a 5-4 loss Saturday as David Ortiz belted the game-winning hit off the wall in left field with two out in the bottom of the ninth off Armando Benitez.

The defeat cut New York’s lead in the East to 2 1/2 games over Boston, which snapped a three-game losing streak to the Yankees.

“They got me. What can you do?” said Benitez, who also surrendered a run in Friday’s win. “I made a good pitch to him.”

Making Weaver’s task even more difficult is that he will be opposed by Boston right-hander Derek Lowe, who boasts a 7-1 mark with a 3.10 ERA in 10 starts at Fenway this year.

Lowe is coming off Tuesday’s 7-4 home win over Detroit, when he yielded three runs and six hits over eight innings, while striking out four without a walk.

STANDINGS: Yankees - 1st place, AL East. Red Sox - 2nd place, 2 1/2 GB, AL East.

YANKEES PROBABLE STARTER: Weaver (5-8, 5.40 ERA). Weaver is 2-4 with a 6.37 ERA in nine career starts against Boston. He started at Fenway on May 20, yielding five runs and seven hits over five innings of New York’s 10-7 loss.

RED SOX PROBABLE STARTER: Lowe (11-4, 4.85 ERA). Lowe is 5-7 with a 5.09 ERA in 32 career appearances, including eight starts, against the Yankees. He beat New York at Yankee Stadium on July 4, surrendering three runs and 10 hits over 6 1-3 innings in a 10-3 victory.

OFFENSIVE LEADERS: Yankees - Hideki Matsui, .294 avg.; Jason Giambi, 28 HRs and 79 RBIs; Alfonso Soriano, 78 runs and 27 SBs. Red Sox - Bill Mueller, .329 avg.; Manny Ramirez, 25 HRs and 79 RBIs; Nomar Garciaparra, 83 runs; Johnny Damon, 20 SBs.

SEASON SERIES: Yankees, 7-5.

STREAKS AND NOTES: Yankees - RHP Weaver is 2-4 with a 5.58 ERA in 11 appearances, including nine starts, on the road this year. … 2B Soriano has a team-high 41 multihit games this season. … Newly acquired LHP Jesse Orosco struck out the only batter he faced Saturday. He has retired all three batters he has faced as a Yankee. Red Sox - OF Damon was caught stealing for just the third time in 23 attempts this season on Saturday. … The Red Sox and Yankees have played three straight one-run games. … SS Garciaparra is hitting .500 (10-for-20) with five homers and 10 RBIs in his career against Weaver.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Yankees - 33-18 on the road; Red Sox - 34-16 at home.

INJURIES: Yankees - RHP Jose Contreras (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Steve Karsay (shoulder), 15-day DL; RHP Jon Lieber (elbow), 60-day DL. Red Sox - RHP Robert Person (hip), 15-day DL.

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Starting Pitchers

J. Weaver LAD vs. D. Lowe Tex
7-9 Record 17-7
5.99 ERA 4.47
93 K 110
47 BB 72
1.62 WHIP 1.42