New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox September 11-13 Series Preview

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New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox September 11-13 Series Preview
Jason Miller/Getty Images
The Yankees hope Hiroki Kuroda is sharp in the series opener as the Yankees look to vanquish the bottom-dwelling Red Sox.

The Yankees have blasted their way to the highest home run total in the majors, and they're currently tied for first in team OPS. Yet they have had odd struggles batting with runners in scoring position. This problem has plagued the Bombers all season long and they enter this series at just 17th in the majors.

The Yankees are 8-4 against Boston this season, with six games left in the season series. The Red Sox come in with nothing to play for other than personal pride and the chance to give their fans something to cheer about by putting a dent in the Yankees' postseason hopes.

The 2012 season did not start out with low expectations for the Sox—in fact, quite the opposite. Boston was considered to be a front-runner to win the division. Injuries, clubhouse discord and poor performance has derailed the Sox season.

Ownership also blew up what were the Red Sox earlier this summer in the deal that sent Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford to Los Angeles. 

The Red Sox have been decimated by injuries—from Jacoby Ellsbury to Dustin Pedroia to Will Middlebrooks—and it’s shown in their record. David Ortiz was having an exceptional season, once again hitting over .300 and belting 23 home runs, until an Achilles strain sidelined him for the rest of the year.

Cody Ross and Pedroia have been bright spots in the lineup, but Adrian Gonzalez had been a disappointment at first base, particularly when you consider Boston was paying him just under $22M. Jacoby Ellsbury is just hoping this season will end. Ellsbury was one of the best players in all of baseball last season.

What a difference a year makes. This season, Ellsbury has missed two months due to injury and since coming back has been a lackluster hitter for Boston. Yet for all of Boston's faults, they're still incredibly ninth in the majors in team OPS. The Yankees should not take them for granted.

The Yankees are hoping to pounce on their prey and beat down the Red Sox at Fenway by reviving their lineup and getting hitters like Curtis Granderson and Nick Swisher back on track. Russell Martin has come alive for the Yankees at the right time as they near another AL East division crown.

When baseball’s biggest rivalry comes up, you can throw out the proverbial records. These should be long, grinding games that will keep fans up until way past 10pm. The Yankees are hoping to gain ground on Baltimore and Tampa and find a late season surge.

Here is an offensive tale of the tape and a breakdown of the pitching matchups:

By the Numbers (Major League rank through games played on September 10th):

Team OPS (On Base + Slugging Percentage): 
Yankees: T-1st
Red Sox: 9th

Team Home Runs: 
Yankees: 1st
Red Sox: 11th

Runs Scored: 
Yankees: 2nd
Red Sox: 6th

Batting Average: 
Yankees: 10th 
Red Sox: 7th

Batting Average with Runners in Scoring Position (RISP): 
Yankees: 17th
Red Sox: 6th

Top Hitters: 
Yankees: Robinson Cano (.303 BA, .9411 OPS, 29 HR, 74 RBI); Derek Jeter (.324 BA, .816 OPS, 15 HR, 50 RBI); Curtis Granderson (.235 BA, .806 OPS, 35 HR, 86 RBI)

Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia (.289 BA, .797 OPS, 14 HR, 58 RBI); Cody Ross (.280 BA, .857 OPS, 20 HR, 73 RBI); Jarrod Saltalamacchia (.225 BA, .745 OPS, 23 HR, 53 RBI)

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