In fact, it could not have gone any worse. The Yankees are currently win-less against the Sox in three games at Fenway and two in the Bronx.
That's a whopping grand total of 0-5.
At one point, on Apr. 25, the Yankees allowed 16 runs to the Red Sox, the second highest this season, only to the 22 run shelling by the Indians on Apr. 18.
The only good sign that came out of that game was that the Yankees were able to score 11 runs off Josh Beckett and a diverse squad of Boston relievers.
Unfortunately the Yankee pitching staff was not only as bad as that night, but worse.
AJ Burnett did not show his usual pitching stability that night, allowing eight runs over five innings, as well as two home runs.
Then came the parade of Yankee relievers which, to say the least, did not help.
Every reliever from Veras to E. Ramirez to Albalaedjo saw action in that game and was unable to hold Boston scoreless.
Luckily for Yankees' fans, that Yankees team is a thing of the past.
That Yankees' team did not have Alex Rodriguez in the lineup, the late inning heroics of Melky Cabrera, the blazing bat of American League home run leader Mark Teixeira, who was feeling a bit chilly at the time, and a team that is currently second, in the majors, in runs scored.
That Yankees team was 9-8 and was in some trouble.
The current Yankees are riding a wave that has them 11 games over .500 and sitting atop the AL East.
Oh and by the way, the bullpen has gotten some stability.
Instead of Girardi trotting out a circus of relievers to get shelled by opposing hitters, the Yankees bullpen has seen some tough situations in the last few games and has prevailed.
Yankees' fans are seeing a steady diet of Alfredo Aceves and after last night's performance may be able to trust in Phil Hughes to get the job done in tight spots.
No matter what the outcome, both the Yankees and Red Sox will come to play.
This heated rivalry, with only one game separating first and second place, will ensure some fireworks that always leave fans delighted.
Keys to the game
The Yankees lineup, being as good as it is, needs to start scoring runs early in the game. The late game heroics may not hold up against a team as good as Boston, whose relievers can potentially shut down the Yanks celebration of a pie in the face. If the Yanks could score eight off Beckett the first time, they have the potential to double that with their current situation.
Also, Burnett needs to get off to a good start. He must hold the Sox to few or no runs and be able keep a lead for his bullpen. As of late, the bullpen looks to do better when the Yankees are winning, or the game is close.
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