Boston Red Sox ace Curt Schilling dominated a depleted lineup the last time he faced the New York Yankees. He’ll try to do so again and help his team earn a victory in this series when he takes the Yankee Stadium mound Thursday night.
Schilling (8-2, 3.86 ERA) was scheduled to face the Yankees in the third game of a four-game set on Wednesday, but that contest was postponed due to rain. He is 1-1 with a 4.85 ERA in two starts against New York (35-22) this year with the win coming on May 22, when he gave up one run over eight innings of a 9-5 victory in which the Yankees played without injured stars Hideki Matsui and Gary Sheffield.
“This is a team that’s been wracked with some real significant injuries,” Schilling said after the game. “I’m sure it’s a different lineup than we’re going to see next time we see them.”
The lineup Schilling faced in his May win featured some unfamiliar faces, and it could look even less familiar to the right-hander Thursday, as Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is expected to miss his third straight game because of a bruised right thumb.
“It’s better,” manager Joe Torre said. “Obviously, it’s not good enough to play. When I said he’d be out a couple of days, it was something of a guess.”
New York, though, has thrived of late with its makeshift lineup, winning nine of its last 11 and the first two games of this series to move 1 1/2 games up on Boston for the AL East lead.
One of the new faces that has sparked the Yankees’ surge is left fielder Melky Cabrera, and he provided the pivotal play in a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox on Tuesday night. Cabrera made a spectacular leaping catch at the wall in the eighth inning to rob Manny Ramirez of a game-tying solo homer.
“That’s why I hit mine 500 feet,” said Boston slugger David Ortiz, who provided Boston’s only run against New York’s Chien-Ming Wang with a solo home run in the third inning. “Then I don’t have to deal with that.”
Wang pitched seven strong innings for New York. Miguel Cairo, who has started the last two games in place of Jeter, went 2-for-3 with a run, and Andy Phillips, who has started the last eight games at first base, made two key defensive plays in the victory.
Neither Cairo nor Phillips has faced Schilling this season.
Schilling is 3-0 with a 4.05 ERA over his last four starts, and Boston (33-23) is counting on its ace to help it avoid a third straight loss to its bitter rival. The Red Sox received a well-pitched effort from fill-in starter David Pauley on Tuesday, but couldn’t generate much offense against Wang, Kyle Farnsworth and Mariano Rivera, who earned the save with a perfect ninth.
A more complete Yankees lineup beat Schilling on May 10, battering him for six runs and eight hits in five innings of a 7-3 victory in the Bronx. Schilling is 6-5 with a 4.59 ERA in 17 games, including 12 starts, against the Yankees.
That victory was the first of the year over the Red Sox for the Yankees, who have won four straight in the season series since dropping four of the first five meetings. They haven’t won five in a row against Boston since taking the final seven matchups of 2001.
Ortiz snapped an 0-for-13 slide against New York on Tuesday with his homer.
Boston catcher Jason Varitek has been a non-factor at the plate against New York this year, going hitless in four at-bats Tuesday to fall to 1-for-24 in the season series.
New York will counter Schilling with right-hander Jaret Wright (3-3, 4.12), who’s looking to win his third straight decision. Wright is 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA in his last three starts, and gave up three runs in six innings of a 6-5 victory over Baltimore on Friday, although he didn’t get the win.
The veteran right-hander is making his second start of the year against the Red Sox. Wright surrendered four hits over five scoreless innings in a 7-5 victory at Fenway Park on May 23. He’s 2-4 with a 6.50 ERA in 10 career starts against Boston.