The Yankees franchise is in the midst of its longest losing streak to open the season against the Red Sox (35-24) since 1912. Boston beat the New York Highlanders 14 consecutive times to start that year, including the first-ever game at Fenway Park.
Despite their struggles against the Red Sox, the Yankees (34-25) dropped just one game back of them in the AL East with Wednesday’s 6-5 loss.
“Unfortunately, we are 0-7 against them, but in the American League East, we’re down one game,” Johnny Damon(notes) told the Yankees’ official Web site. “That’s positive for us, considering we haven’t beaten them yet. Hopefully, (Thursday) can be a different story, and we can try to get that win and start going from there.”
After being limited to a season-low two hits in Tuesday’s 7-0 loss, the Yankees had 11 Wednesday but went 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
Teixeira was the Yankees’ top offensive acquisition over the winter, signing a $180 million, eight-year contract, while Sabathia got the richest deal for a pitcher in baseball history - $161 million over seven years.
Following a slow start, Sabathia has been a workhorse lately, and the Yankees could use a long outing from him after starters A.J. Burnett(notes) and Chien-Ming Wang(notes) both got just eight outs in the first two games of this series.
Sabathia was 1-3 with a 4.85 ERA and pitched into the eighth inning twice over his first six starts, but the 2007 AL Cy Young Award winner has gone 4-0 with a 2.49 ERA and is averaging nearly eight innings in his last six outings.
Sabathia (5-3, 3.56 ERA) allowed five runs and five hits in eight innings of a 9-7 home loss to Tampa Bay on Saturday. He’ll be looking to bounce back on the road, where he’s posted a 1.88 ERA in winning his last three starts.
Sabathia’s 1-1 with a 2.35 ERA in three career regular-season starts at Fenway Park, but in his last appearance there in Game 1 of the 2007 ALCS for Cleveland, the left-hander was tagged for eight runs, seven hits and five walks in 4 1-3 innings of a 10-3 loss. He recorded a 10.45 ERA in losing both of his starts against Boston in the ’07 playoffs.
Sabathia will be trying to slow down a Red Sox team that has won seven of its last nine overall and eight in a row over the Yankees dating to last season.
“We’re moving guys over, we’re getting big two-out hits, and when you do those little things like that and you’re playing good baseball you’re going to win ballgames - regardless of it’s the Yankees or anybody else,” closer Jonathan Papelbon(notes) said.
Penny, who signed a one-year, $5 million contract in January, hasn’t been particularly sharp with his new team, but he’s been helped by an offense that’s backed him with an average of 7.2 runs of support.
His offense wasn’t able to bail him out last time, though, as the right-hander gave up five runs and seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of Friday’s 5-1 loss to Texas.
Penny, who made his only regular-season start against New York in 2000, was a key part of Florida’s World Series champion team that beat the Yankees in 2003, posting a 2.19 ERA in winning both of his starts in the Fall Classic.