The Red Sox dominated the Yankees earlier this year, winning six of seven in April. However, the New York showed how much better it’s playing now, routing Boston 11-3 in this series opener Tuesday.
“We were jacked up for this one,” said Sheffield, who leads the team with 52 RBIs.
The Yankees extended their AL East lead to a season-high 6 1/2 over the second-place Red Sox.
“You want to try to get some breathing room,” Derek Jeter said.
The Yankees hope to have another big night at the plate to back the struggling Lieber. The veteran right-hander has allowed 40 hits and 17 earned runs in 22 2-3 innings over his last five starts.
Lieber will face the Red Sox for the first time this season. He missed the first two series against Boston while rehabbing his elbow in Tampa Bay.
Lieber has felt weakness in his pitching shoulder, but Yankees manager Joe Torre isn’t overly concerned. Lieber missed all of last year following an elbow operation, and Torre attributes the shoulder weakness to the layoff.
“Probably he’s not all the way back yet from the surgery,” Torre said.
Boston, which has lost six of nine overall, made three errors and allowed four unearned runs Tuesday, raising its total to a major league-leading 58.
Following a 15-6 start, the Red Sox have gone 27-27 since April, putting pressure on themselves to keep up.
“We have to do better,” Boston manager Terry Francona said.
Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will start for the Red Sox against Lieber.
“This team is resilient,” Kevin Millar said. “You shower, you think of what you could have done better and you come back tomorrow.”