The New York Yankees have lost two World Series this decade. They dropped a game to the MVP of one of those series Tuesday night, and try to avoid the same fate against the other on Wednesday.
Curt Schilling, who earned co-MVP honors in the 2001 World Series after starting Game 7 for the Arizona Diamondbacks, takes the mound for the Boston Red Sox against the Yankees as the AL East rivals continue their three-game set on Wednesday.
Josh Beckett, the 2003 World Series MVP with the Florida Marlins after pitching a shutout in the clinching Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, was also the winning pitcher in Boston’s 14-3 victory in Tuesday’s series opener. He defeated Randy Johnson—the pitcher who shared the 2001 award with Schilling.
Tuesday’s win gave Boston (20-12) a one-game division lead over New York as the Red Sox matched their season-high five-game winning streak and their best run and hit (16) totals of the season. The Red Sox have outscored the Yankees 21-6 in two meetings this season.
The defeat was the worst for New York at Yankee Stadium since a 17-1 loss to the Red Sox on May 28.
“Overall we just had an awful game. I had a real bad game,” Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez said after going 0-for-3 with two errors.
Melky Cabrera, brought up from the minor leagues to play right field after Gary Sheffield went on the disabled list with a wrist injury earlier Tuesday, dropped a fly ball hit by Manny Ramirez for another error. The three errors led to six unearned runs for the Red Sox.
After his heroics with Arizona, Schilling (5-1, 3.02 ERA) led Boston by winning Game 6 of the 2004 ALCS at Yankee Stadium, pitching seven innings on a torn ankle tendon while bleeding through his sock.
The 39-year-old right-hander struggled to recover from that injury through last season, but seems to have recovered his old form. Schilling defeated Baltimore on Friday, allowing three runs and eight hits in seven innings while not walking a batter and striking out five in Boston’s 6-3 win.
“I’m disappointed in a few things but, overall, it was a good win for us,” said Schilling, who didn’t win his fifth game last season until Aug. 19.
Schilling can become the AL’s first six-game winner with a victory Wednesday, but so can Yankees starter Mike Mussina (5-1, 2.35). The right-hander has won his last four starts and posted quality starts in all seven of his outings this season.
Mussina limited the Rangers to two runs and three hits in seven innings of New York’s 8-7 victory on Friday. He is 17-14 with a 3.38 lifetime ERA versus Boston, giving him the most wins against the Red Sox among active pitchers.
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell went 2-for-6 with two doubles Tuesday, continuing his hot streak. Lowell, a product of the Yankees farm system who was traded to Florida before the 1999 season, is batting .426 (23-for-54) with 11 doubles, 13 RBIs and 12 runs scored in his last 14 games.
His 19 doubles this season lead the major leagues.