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Closing Time: Wade Miley goes 7 strong innings, but Red Sox offense goes quiet in loss to Yankees 05.02.15 at 4:19 pm ET
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Wade Miley allowed three runs over seven innings Sunday, his best start of the year. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Wade Miley allowed three runs over seven innings Sunday, his best start of the year. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

On most days Wade Miley’s start would be good enough with the Red Sox‘ powerful lineup behind him.

Unfortunately for him, the Red Sox‘ hitters couldn’t get anything going in their 4-2 loss to the Yankees Saturday afternoon. The Yankees have now taken both games to open the series.

Coming into the game with a 8.62 ERA and going 2 1/3 innings in two of his four starts, Miley threw his best game of the year tossing seven innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, while not walking a batter and striking out three.

Prior to the game he had walked at least two batters in every start this season, and had walked a total of 11 batters in his 15 2/3 innings to open the season.

“Obviously the last couple outings haven’t been the best, but I wanted to get deep in the game and give them a chance,” said Miley. “I was able to get through the seventh. Something good to build off of, for sure.”

It was his longest outing of the year, and going back to last season he had gone seven starts without pitching in the seventh inning. The outing could’ve been even better if one pitch was different in the fifth inning.

The Yankees snapped a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning with two outs. Miley was one strike away from getting out of the inning, but Brett Gardner lined a two RBI single to left. They added an insurance run in the eighth on a Chris Young solo homer.

“Much improved,” manager John Farrell said of Miley. “I think Wade today delivered what we anticipated and will anticipate going forward. I thought he did a much better job with keeping the pace that he works at a little bit more under control. Threw a number of breaking balls for strikes and a lot of strikes overall. The fifth inning, 2-2 breaking ball to Gardner is pretty much the difference in this one.”

Dustin Pedroia had the first Red Sox run — a solo home run in the fourth inning. They got their second in the seventh inning on a Mookie Betts RBI double off the wall scoring Blake Swihart, but Pedroia left the tying run in scoring position grounding out to short.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Miley. Despite the loss, the Red Sox left-hander posted his best start to the season and bounced back in a big way after Sunday’s terrible performance in Baltimore. He got back to his old habits of getting ground balls, proving effective. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ loss:

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Dustin Pedroia, New York Yankees, wade miley
Red Sox lineup: Allen Craig starting in right field vs. CC Sabathia, Yankees 05.01.15 at 3:12 pm ET
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Allen Craig

Allen Craig

With the Red Sox going up against Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia, Allen Craig will get the start in right field in the series opener Friday night.

Daniel Nava is hitting exclusively from the left side this year, and the other option would be left-handed hitting Brock Holt, so manager John Farrell is going with the righty in Craig with Shane Victorino on the DL.

Otherwise it’s a standard lineup for the Red Sox with Mike Napoli fully recovered from his illness and starting at first base.

Ryan Hanigan will catch Red Sox starter Justin Masterson

For an extensive look at the matchups, click here.

1. Mookie Betts, CF
2. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Hanley Ramirez, LF
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Pablo Sandoval, 3B
7. Allen Craig, RF
8. Xander Bogaerts, SS
9. Ryan Hanigan, C
Justin Masterson, RHP

Read More: Allen Craig, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees,
Red Sox-Yankees series preview at 12:25 pm ET
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Alex Rodriguez is one home run away from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on MLB's all-time list. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Alex Rodriguez heads to Fenway Park one home run away from tying Willie Mays for fourth place on MLB’s all-time list. (Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

The Red Sox start a three-game series against the Yankees on Friday, New York’s first visit of the season to Fenway Park. Boston took two of three from the Yankees in their previous meeting this season, with 6-5 and 8-4 wins and a 14-4 loss. New York currently holds the top spot in the AL East with a record of 13-9. Boston is tied for second, one game behind.

Heading into the weekend series, the Red Sox pitching staff holds a major league-worst 5.04 ERA. It is 22nd with a 1.36 WHIP and 19th with a .259 batting average against. Through 22 games, Red Sox pitching already has given up 25 home runs. Joe Kelly is the only Boston starter with an ERA under 5.00, and he is hovering near that mark at 4.94.

The Red Sox offense has been too inconsistent to make up for the underwhelming pitching. It is producing runs at a good rate (113, which is third in baseball), but its subpar batting average suggests that this trend will not last long. Boston batters are hitting .245, putting them 15th in baseball. The Sox offense, which was expected to be one of the elite units in the league, has an OPS of .711, which puts it behind all other teams in the AL East except the Rays.

Just four Red Sox hitters have averages over .274 on the season: Brock Holt (.386), Pablo Sandoval (.312), Hanley Ramirez (.293) and Dustin Pedroia (.291). Over the last seven days, however, the offense has been heating up. Six hitters are batting over .300, six have OBPs of .370 or higher, and they have scored a total of 36 in six games.

Hanley Ramirez is tied for first in the majors with 10 home runs and 22 RBIs. He also boasts a .659 slugging percentage, which is good for fourth in baseball.

The Yankees are coming off four consecutive series victories, winning the majority of games against the Tigers, Mets and Rays (twice) since April 17. During that stretch, New York is 10-3 and has claimed the top spot in the division.

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Read More: New York Yankees, Red Sox,
Closing Time: Clay Buchholz’s poor outing dooms Red Sox in blowout loss to Yankees 04.12.15 at 11:32 pm ET
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Clay Buchholz allowed a career-high 10 runs in Sunday's loss to the Yankees. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Clay Buchholz allowed a career-high 10 runs in Sunday’s loss to the Yankees. (Elsa/Getty Images)

Maybe thinking Clay Buchholz is back to his 2013 pre-injury form was a little premature.

After dominating the Phillies on Opening Day, the Red Sox‘ right-hander struggled out of the gates allowing seven first inning runs (six earned) en route to allowing a career-high 10 runs in the Yankees’ 14-4 win Sunday night to avoid a series sweep.

The Yankees batted around in the first inning as Buchholz allowed a lead off walk to Jacoby Ellsbury, followed by a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Brett Gardner with Ellsbury advancing to third. Carlos Beltran then hit into a fielders choice for the Yankees’ first run. Then, following a Mark Teixeira walk, Brian McCann reached on a Mike Napoli error, as he bobbled the ball on a play going to his right, which loaded the bases.

Alex Rodriguez would clear the bases with a double to left center field, giving the Yankees a 4-0 lead, and things would only get worse for Buchholz.

He then allowed back-to-back home runs to Chase Headley and Stephen Drew to close out the first inning scoring.

In a normal situation, without a depleted bullpen following Friday’s 19-inning game and the inability to recall a pitcher, Buchholz may have been removed from the game, but he needed to take some heat off the bullpen. He actually settled down retiring seven of the next eight batters after the first, but struggled again in the fourth, allowing three more runs and thus being removed from the game in the inning.

Buchholz finished by going 3 1/3 innings, allowing 10 runs (nine earned) on nine hits, while walking two and striking out three. It was his shortest outing since going just three innings May 26 in Atlanta last season, and he went on the disabled list after the start. It’s also worth mentioning the right-hander failed to back up the bases on a few occasions in the fourth inning.

Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka breezed through the first three innings, but had trouble in the fourth, throwing 38 pitches and allowing three runs. He finished the night going five innings, allowing four runs on four hits, which was enough to earn the win.

SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: The Yankees’ bats broke out in a big way by totaling 16 hits and were led by Headley, who went 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, including the first inning home run.

Here is what went wrong (and right) in the Red Sox’ second loss of the season:

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Clay Buchholz, hanley ramirez, Masahiro Tanaka
Red Sox-Yankees series preview 04.10.15 at 12:00 pm ET
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The Red Sox head to the Bronx on Friday to rekindle their rivalry with the Yankees.

After starting the year against a National League team, the Sox will play their first games against a divisional opponent in the young 2015 season. Boston got two high-quality starts from Clay Buchholz and Justin Masterson, along with a decent outing from Rick Porcello, which resulted in a low-scoring loss. The much talked-about offense was working in Games 1 and 3, and despite only scoring twice in Game 2, the Red Sox are in the top 10 in runs scored through three games.

With a return to an American League stadium this weekend, the Red Sox will be able to use the DH and get a better idea of how their upgraded offense will look for most of 2015. The main area of concern will be the pitching staff against the Yankees. A rotation that already has been called into question was expected to be without one of its starters, Joe Kelly, who was scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday. In Kelly’€™s absence, the Red Sox announced Wednesday that knuckleballer Steven Wright would get the start in Game 2 of the series. However, manager John Farrell said on Thursday that after Kelly threw a good bullpen session on Wednesday, “It looks like he’€™€™ll be ready to go by Saturday.”

In 2014 the Red Sox went 7-12 against the Yankees, who have started this season with a 1-2 record. New York’s only win was in Game 2 of its series with the Blue Jays, and the Yankees gave up six runs twice in the series. Their Opening Day starter, Masahiro Tanaka was roughed up by Toronto and made it through just four innings of work. There was speculation that the Japanese star was not completely healthy for his outing, but the Yankees have made it clear that they don’t believe his health had any effect on the outcome.

“I’m not going to make excuses,” Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild told reporters after Tanaka’s outing. “He’s capable of pitching better than today, and he will. I think you’ll see it as long as he stays healthy, and I believe right now he is healthy.”

The Red Sox will see Tanaka on Sunday.

After being suspended for the entirety of the 2014 season, Alex Rodriguez hit his first home run of this season on Thursday night. It was the 655th homer of A-Rod‘s career, putting him just five behind Willie Mays for fourth on the all-time list.

The Yankees have two starting pitchers on the disabled list, Chris Capuano and Ivan Nova.

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Read More: Alex Rodriguez, Masahiro Tanaka, New York Yankees, Red Sox
Kevin Youkilis: 2004 World Series title ‘made my life’ 05.28.14 at 9:46 pm ET
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No one had a better joy ride on the 2004 Boston Red Sox than Kevin Youkilis.

He was a 25-year-old infielder wondering how long he would be toiling for the Red Sox in the minor leagues when he was called up on May 15 in Toronto to fill the void left by Bill Mueller’s trip to the disabled list. He homered in his first game against Toronto righty Pat Hentgen.

The eighth-round pick of the Red Sox in 2001 would play in 72 games in 2004, hit seven homers and drive in 35 runs. He would even get two plate appearances against the Angels in the 2004 ALDS, won by Manny Ramirez on the walk-off homer in Game 3 at Fenway Park.

But Youkilis had a seat in the dugout for the ALCS against the Yankees and the World Series against the Cardinals. With 73 games in four months for the Red Sox in his debut season, the “Greek God of Walks” had himself a World Series ring.

“For me, it changed my life,” Youkilis recalled Wednesday afternoon at Fenway. “I went from making minor league money to all of a sudden making major league money then getting a full share in the World Series. My life changed dramatically. It made my life. In the minor leagues, you’re grinding it out so much, paycheck to paycheck and then you all of a sudden get a little bit of money, it helps you out in so many ways.”

The glamour and attention would eventually lead to a wedding ceremony (never formalized) to Boston socialite Enza Sambataro. After they split, Youkilis would settle down and eventually marry and start a family with Julie Brady, the sister of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady.

“I look around at a lot of things. That was my first season. When you’re a rookie, you don’t really know what you’re doing. They’re telling you what to do and you’re trying to not mess up as much as possible and trying to conform and make an impression. That year was such an amazing year, winning a World Series. I always joke around about everyone has said, ‘Eighty-six years of heartache,’ and it was like four months for me. This is great. Are we going to do this every year? You finally realize, after we did it again in 2007. And then you realize, later, it’s special and it’s hard to do. And you’re going to have a lot of in-between years. And for the team to do it last year was an amazing feat.”

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Read More: 2004 Boston Red Sox, 2004 World Series, Boston Red Sox, Enza Sambataro
John Farrell: ‘Erratic’ Felix Doubront can’t pick up defense (or himself) in ‘terrible’ loss 04.25.14 at 12:33 am ET
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It was a night that John Farrell and the Red Sox desperately needed a mentally tough pitcher on the mound.

Felix Doubront was not that pitcher Thursday night.

In one of the ugliest games of the Farrell era in Boston, the Red Sox committed four errors in the first three innings, finishing with five on the night, while adding three wild pitches, 12 walks and a passed ball in a 14-5 loss to the New York Yankees Thursday night at Fenway Park. In the two losses to the Yankees, the Red Sox allowed 10 unearned runs.

Doubront was shelled for seven runs, three earned, on six hits and lasted just 2 2/3 innings, falling to 1-3 on the season. Doubront got out of the first inning down just 1-0 on the first of three errors from Xander Bogaerts and a passed ball from David Ross.

In the second inning, Doubront wasn’t as lucky. He was victimized by a Dustin Pedroia drop at second base, two wild pitches of his own doing, and two hits as the Yankees scored three times for a 4-0 lead. Add in two more errors in the third, one committed by Doubront himself, and three hits and the Yankees had a 7-0 lead. Doubront threw 73 pitches in just 2 2/3 innings of work.

“It was a bad night,” Doubront lamented afterward. “I couldn’t get my job done. It was probably a loss of concentration. That’s what happened. It was terrible.”

“Once again, spotting the opponent a number of runs to get behind early. Felix was erratic with his command. We contributed with some plays defensively to extend a couple of those innings and the sooner we move past this one the better,” Farrell added.

Farrell insisted with his team and Doubront the effort is there but the focus might not be.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, felix doubront, John Farrell, MLB
Thursday’s Red Sox-Yankees matchups: Felix Doubront vs. CC Sabathia 04.24.14 at 9:18 am ET
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The Red Sox will finish off their home series against the Yankees on Thursday, sending Felix Doubront to the mound against fellow southpaw CC Sabathia.

Through four starts in 2014, Doubront has struggled, going 1-2 with an ERA of 5.48 and a WHIP of 1.55, second worst among Red Sox starters and only better than Clay Buchholz. Doubront’€™s 15 strikeouts are the lowest among the team’€™s starting rotation.

The 26-year-old last played on April 19 against the Orioles, going 6 2/3 innings and giving up two runs on five hits, striking out a season-high seven batters and walking two. Doubront pitched well, throwing 70 of his 107 pitches for strikes and allowing one extra-base hit. While Doubront got a no-decision, the Red Sox won the game 4-2, despite his rough first inning.

“I don’t really know what happened [in the first],” Doubront said after the game. “I think I overthrew a couple balls and I was thinking too much, and I calmed down and I was trying to throw strikes and get quick innings, and I did.

“Just throw down in the zone [after the first], throw more breaking balls, just throw strikes. And they swing. They’re a team, if you’re throwing a strike, they’re going to swing. I went with that, just throwing my cutters down in the zone. Tried to get quick outs and that worked.”

Doubront’€™s last start against the Yankees came on April 13 in New York. The southpaw went 6 2/3 innings, throwing 101 pitches and allowing three runs on a season-high seven hits. The Red Sox lost, 3-2.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, C.C. Sabathia, felix doubront, New York Yankees
Red Sox reaction to Michael Pineda: ‘Something has to be said’ at 12:06 am ET
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John Farrell had no choice Wednesday night at Fenway Park. There was no room for looking the other way from the greasy skin of Michael Pineda this time.

After watching the Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda blatantly used pine tar on his hand in a 4-1 win on April 10 at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox manager said he had no choice but to call for home plate umpire Gerry Davis to inspect the right side of Pineda’s neck in the second inning Wednesday at Fenway Park.

What Davis found was an obvious streak of pine tar used by the pitcher to gain an advantage on the grip of the baseball. The blatant use of pine tar represented an obvious violation of rule 8.02 (4) of applying a foreign substance to the ball and Pineda was immediately ejected. After being warned by MLB after his previous violation in New York, Pineda faces an almost certain suspension of at least eight games from Major League Baseball for the latest infraction.

John Farrell explained his case in detail after Boston’s 5-1 win Wednesday night:

“In the second inning it looked from the dugout that there was a substance on his neck,” Farrell said. “You could see it, I could see it from the dugout. It was confirmed by a number of camera angles in the ballpark, and given the last time we faced him, I felt like it was a necessity to say something.

“I fully respect on a cold night you’re trying to get a little bit of a grip. But when it’s that obvious, something has got to be said.”

Farrell continued: “I can say our awareness was heightened, given what we’ve seen in the past, and it was confirmed today.”

Farrell was asked if he fears the Yankees retaliating and asking umpires to check Red Sox pitchers on the mound. Clay Buchholz was accused by Toronto broadcasters early in the 2013 season of using suntan lotion for the same purpose.

“We’ll see what tomorrow brings,” Farrell said. “I don’t know that. As obvious as this was, I felt like he needed to be checked at the time.”

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, John Farrell, Michael Pineda, New York Yankees
Jacoby Ellsbury gets much warmer reception than Johnny Damon in his return: ‘The fans were great’ 04.23.14 at 12:06 am ET
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Johnny Damon had warned Jacoby Ellsbury before the game Tuesday that he would find out just how vicious Red Sox fans could be for leaving Boston for the Yankees.

After all, when Damon signed with the Bronx Bombers prior to the 2006 season, he was roundly booed and excoriated every time he set foot inside Fenway Park. It didn’t stop when he left after winning a World Series in 2009 and played for Detroit, Tampa Bay and Cleveland.

But Ellsbury is no Johnny Damon. For whatever reason, Ellsbury was booed on Tuesday but no where near as fiercely as Damon when the original “Idiot” returned in 2006 for the first time.

[Click here to hear Jacoby Ellsbury rave about his return to Fenway Park Tuesday night.]

As a matter of fact, Ellsbury thought the Red Sox fans showed great restraint and respect. True, it’s a lot easier to say that when you triple to open the game, making a diving catch in the bottom of the first and knock out the opposing pitcher Jon Lester with a two-run double in the fifth, all part of a 9-3 Yankees cakewalk Tuesday night at Friendly Fenway.

“Anytime a win is a good game,” Ellsbury said. “I’m happy I could go out there and help the team win tonight. I thought the fans were great. I thought the reception was nice. The tribute the Red Sox gave on the video board [was] unexpected, and I thought it was very classy of them to do that.

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Read More: Boston Red Sox, Jacoby Ellsbury, Johnny Damon, MLB
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