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Ben Whitehead
Contributing Writer

If they can escape with a series split, it might be considered a win.

The Boston Red Sox hope to avoid losing this four-game series to the New York Yankees. Boston has lost two of the first three games and can earn a 2-2 split with a win on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The Yankees were just 2-7 against the Sox at home in 2013 and have already matched that win total in the first of three home series.

Shouldering the load for Boston is Felix Doubront, who has been inconsistent in his first two starts - ironically, which is consistent with his entire career. Doubront looked great in his first start against Baltimore, picking up a win against the Orioles. He went 5 1/3 innings, struck out four, walked one and gave up three runs on six hits. A fair outing, but about what one would expect out of the Sox No. 3 starter. His next outing wasn't anywhere near that performance. Doubront allowed five runs in 2 2/3 innings in a loss to Texas. The same inconsistency was seen last season. In four starts against the Yankees in 2013, Doubront allowed six earned runs apiece in two games, while holding New York to one earned run in each of his other two starts.

Which one shows up tonight? That remains to be seen. Either way, the Red Sox at best will finish the series with a losing record overall, and could remain at the bottom of the AL East.

While we ponder that thought, take a look at the lineup John Farrell sends out (first pitch - 8:05 pm ET):

1) Sizemore, LF
2) Bogaerts, SS
3) Ortiz, DH
4) Napoli, 1B
5) Nava, RF
6) Pierzynski, C
7) Roberts, 3B
8) Bradley Jr., CF
9) Herrera, 3B

Doubront, P

That lineup will face the Yankees' Ivan Nova, who is 1-1 with an 8.68 ERA this year. Nova was hammered in his last start to the tune of seven runs and 10 hits by the Orioles in just 3 2/3 innings. He went 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs, but walked five batters in his first start against the Astros.

Offense sputtering
Farrell put Dustin Pedroia in the leadoff spot Saturday, hoping to spark the second baseman and the lineup. Three different leadoff men had been 8-for-42 (.190). Pedroia went 1-for-5, so not much changed. The Sox had a string of 10 straight runs scored via the home run when Mike Carp knocked a two-run single in the seventh inning. Home runs are good, but the offense needs to produce with runners in scoring position, a category they are lacking in (18-for-92, .196 AVG).

Papi still streaking
With a sixth-inning double Saturday, David Ortiz has now reached base safely in 25 straight games against the Yankees since the start of the 2012 season. Big Papi is 39-for-93 (.419) with three home runs and 20 walks in that span. Against Nova, Ortiz is 6-for-16 with a double, home run, four RBIs and four walks.

Pierzynski pulling it together
The new Boston backstop got off to a slow start, but has since been on a tear. A.J. Pierzynski has nine hits in his last 16 at-bats, including his second inning home run Saturday - his first in a Red Sox uniform. The free-swinging Pierzynski is batting .344, but hasn't drawn a walk this season.

Windy City Sox Showdown
The Red Sox will take Monday off, as they travel to Chicago to face the White Sox in a three-game series Tuesday through Thursday. With a late game tonight, it's likely that Farrell will have the team stay in New York before flying out Monday.

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Ben Whitehead 4/13/2014 06:00:00 PM Edit
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