BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees will square off for the first time of the 2014 season on Thursday, opening up a four-game set in the Bronx.
Both teams enter the series with a 4-5 record and both have had their share of struggles, both at the plate and on the mound.
But whenever these two teams meet, chances are fans are in for an entertaining (and long) series of rivalry baseball. Here are the pitching matchups for the weekend series in New York:
Thursday, 7:05 pm: (Game Preview)
Clay Buchholz (0-0, 12.46 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (0-1, 1.50 ERA)
Buchholz was roughed up by the Milwaukee Brewers in his first start of the season, allowing six runs off 13 hits (including two homers) over 4.1 innings.
“It comes down to execution,” Boston manager John Farrell said of Buchholz. “We feel like he’ll come to the mound with stuff similar to what he had Saturday night. It’s a matter of being more consistent with his location from pitch-to-pitch. To me, that was the reason he had struggles the other night.”
However, Buchholz had plenty of success against New York last season, allowing just one run over 18 innings of work. Overall he finished with a 3-0 record against the Yankees in 2013.
He’ll be opposed by Pineda, who is making his Yankee Stadium debut. The 25-year-old righty gave up just one run on five hits, striking out five, in New York’s 4-0 loss in Toronto on Saturday in his first major-league appearance since September 2011 with the Seattle Mariners.
So really, who knows what to expect out of this one?
Inside the numbers: Yankees second baseman Brian Roberts is a career 10-for-25 (.400) against Buchholz with a double, triple and five walks.
Friday, 7:05 pm:
Jon Lester (0-2, 2.51 ERA) vs. CC Sabathia (1-1, 7.50 ERA)
Lester has been solid again for the Red Sox, but the Boston offense has crossed the plate just once in his first two starts of the season. He sits at 0-2, but could easily be 2-0 had the offense given him support.
A much slimmer Sabathia has struggled so far for the Yankees but picked up the win in his last outing in Toronto, keeping the Blue Jays to four runs off seven hits in six innings. He was roughed up by the Houston Astros in New York’s season opener, giving up six runs off eight hits in six innings. His velocity is said to be down, but he still struck out six batters in each of his outings, and has issued just one free pass on the season so far.
Inside the numbers: Dustin Pedroia is hitting .302 against Sabathia in 53 at-bats with three doubles and three RBI.
Saturday, 1:05 pm:
John Lackey (2-0, 1.38 ERA) vs. Hiroki Kuroda (1-1, 2.92 ERA)
Both starters look good out of the gate, and while Friday’s Lester-Sabathia showdown has two big names attached to it, this could be the best duel of the series.
Lackey is looking like his 2013 self, allowing just two earned runs off eight hits over his first 13 innings of work. He leads Red Sox starters with a 0.85 WHIP, which he’ll need to bring to Yankee Stadium. Lackey allowed seven runs in 5.2 innings in his only start in New York last season, but was still earned the W that outing.
Kuroda has allowed two runs in each of his first two outings of the season, and suffered from some poor run support in his lone loss (3-1 to the Houston Astros). But if last season was any indication, Kuroda may be in for a long night against Boston’s bats. He was 1-4 with a 4.88 ERA against the Red Sox last season, with Boston hitting .308 overall against the right-hander.
Inside the numbers: David Ortiz is 10-for-17 (.588 batting average) with four doubles and a home run in his career vs. Kuroda.
Sunday, 8:05 pm:
Felix Doubront (1-1, 9.00 ERA) vs. Ivan Nova (1-1, 8.68 ERA)
This game will be shown on national television, and there could be a lot of runs scored in this one (hello, 4-plus hour baseball!). Combined, Nova and Doubront gave up 13 runs in their last outings (Nova seven runs in 3.2 IP against the Orioles, Doubront five runs in 2.2 IP against the Rangers) and neither had much success against their weekend opponent in 2013. Nova allowed seven earned runs in eight innings pitched in his two starts against Boston last season, with Doubront going 2-1 with a 6.30 ERA, allowing 20 hits and 14 earned runs in 20 innings against the Yanks.
Inside the numbers: Alfonzo Soriano has three hits in five career at-bats against Doubront, two of them home runs.
Bonus inside the numbers: Daniel Nava is 4-for-10 against Nova and has an OBP of .500.
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