CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07 ERA) is in charge of the rubber match against the Sox tonight as he goes up against Ryan Dempster (5-8, 4.24 ERA). Sabathia is trying to rebound from what he called a “terrible” first half. He’s trying to fix an arm slot issue from his last start. He’s 1-1 against Boston this year, including beating them with 7 1/3 innings of one run ball back on May 31.
Sabathia spent time away from baseball during the All Star break and the ace is hoping it helped. “I didn’t see anything about baseball,” he said. “It was actually refreshing to be able to get away and relax. It was the first time I’d done that in a while. I feel good.” The Yankees are hoping he feels better than he did his last start, when he matched his shortest outing of the season with just four innings of work in a 10-4 loss to the Twins. He allowed eight runs, only three of them earned. ”It doesn’t change anything, I haven’t pitched yet,” said Sabathia, whose July performance at 1-2 with a 3.60 ERA marks an improvement over June. “I’m still terrible and disappointed.”
Dempster had been a reliable starter going deep into games before his last outing against the Mariners, when he didn’t make it through the fourth. He’s turned in quality starts in seven of his last nine outings and allowed two runs or fewer in four of his last six.
Brett Gardner returned to the lineup Saturday after being ejected in the fifth in Fridays game for throwing his helmet in reaction to a called third strike by umpire Mike Everitt. Afterward he said needs to “do a better job of keeping my emotions in check.” Before his ejection, Gardner had stolen a pair of bases to move to 10th place in Yankees career steals with 152, leaving him one away from ninth place and the great Mickey Mantle. Gardner made a steal attempt in the top of the ninth Saturday but was thrown out to end the inning.
Notes on the game
The Yankees have won eight of the last 13 and 19 of the last 30 meetings with the Red Sox.
This series is the latest first visit to Fenway Park by the Yankees since the strike interrupted 1981 season, and stands as the latest in a full season in the rivalry’s history.
Game kicks off at 8:05 PM (EST) on ESPN