Yankees @ Red Sox Series Preview

The New York Yankees (27-16) stumble into Fenway Park for a three-game series against the Boston Red Sox (27-16) in the first meeting this season between the two rivals. The Yanks, who opened the season by going 18-3, have won only one out of their last six, all at home, and are coming right off of a sweep at the hands of the Texas Rangers. The Red Sox are in the middle of a 12-game homestand, and dropped their last series to the Angels, 2-1.

Derek Jeter's return to the Yankees lineup last Tuesday was supposed to spark the sputtering New York lineup. But since that time the team is averaging just four runs per game, and less than three runs per game that they lost - both well below their season average of 5.8 runs per game. New York's pitching has faltered as well - only Jeff Weaver won his start in the last turn of the rotation, and the bullpen has not improved much since the return of Mariano Rivera.

Boston, on the other hand, has won four of their last six games but lost two games in a series of close games to the Angels.

Boston's victory over the Angels on Sunday, coupled with the Yankees' loss to Texas placed the two teams in a tie for first place at the top of the AL East.

Pitching Matchups

Monday: David Wells (5-1, 3.26) vs. Casey Fossum (4-1, 4.07). Wells took his first loss of the season in his last start, when he gave up five runs against Anaheim. Overall, Wells has been the pitcher he always is. He hasn't walked a batter in his last two starts, only has two walks overall, and he's managed to go at least seven innings in all but one of his starts. Over the last three seasons, Wells is 3-1 against Boston with a 3.43 ERA. Fossum is beginning to emerge into the pitcher Boston hoped he would be. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in any of his last four starts, during which time he is 3-0. In his last start - against Texas - the southpaw allowed just one run on four hits in five innings to grab the win. Jason Giambi, sporting a .203 batting average so far this season, hits a tepid .444 against Fossum.

Tuesday: Jeff Weaver (3-2, 4.78) vs. Pedro Martinez (4-2, 2.83). Weaver has been extremely inconsistent so far in 2003 for the Bombers, looking sharp one outing, then terrible the next. The one thing that Weaver has been consistently good at is keeping the ball in the park. He has allowed just one homerun this season - a solo-shot off the bat of Jeff DaVanon on Thursday. In his last outing, Weaver held back the Angels while the Yankees pounded them 10-4. Pedro Martinez has been a bit of a mystery for Boston this year. For the most part, he has been his usual dominant self, but twice this season he has been pounded. In his last start against Texas, Pedro shut the Rangers out for six innings and struck out eight for the win. Pedro has been battling groin stiffness however, and will be a question mark for Tuesday's start.

Wednesday: Roger Clemens (5-2, 2.91) vs. Tim Wakefield (4-1, 4.59). The Rocket returns to Fenway in the final game of the series looking for career win number 299. There was talk of Clemens having his start shifted so that he would not go after number 300 in Fenway, but with his loss to Texas on Friday, this doesn't seem like an issue any longer. Since leaving his former team, Clemens is 6-2 with a 2.44 ERA against the Red Sox. Knuckleballer Tim Wakefield will take the hill for the Sox to face Clemens. Wakefield leads Boston in wins, but has been less than stellar after putting on a dazzling performance in 2002. In his last outing, Wakefield pitched six innings against Anaheim, allowing three runs but not figuring in the decision. Alfonso Soriano and Jeter both his Wakefield well. Soriano has a .400 batting average against him with two homers, while Jeter is hitting .375 with three homers against the knuckler.


Yankees' 1B Nick Johnson will be out 4-6 weeks with a stress fracture in his hand. The injury occurred on May 14 against Anaheim … CF Bernie Williams has been hampered by his knee for the last few games, Hideki Matsui started for him in center on Sunday … 1B Jason Giambi has been bothered by an eye infection, but seems to be fine now. His average still hovers just around the Mendoza line … RHP Jose Contreras will return to the Yankees' bullpen for the series in Boston. Contreras was sent down to AAA in April after going 1-0 with a 10.80 ERA … Boston RF Trot Nixon left Sunday's game with tightness in both hamstrings. Nixon made a mental mistake in Saturday's game, tossing the ball into the stands with only two outs.

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