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03/31/10 10:40 PM ET

Grand opening: Yanks, Red Sox start things up

John Schlegel/MLB.com

Leave it to the game's biggest rivalry to deliver the 2010 season's grand opening.

Yankees-Red Sox at Fenway Park is always a classic, but it's especially big when it's the Opening Night of the 2010 Major League Baseball campaign.

With the Cy Young-caliber matchup of Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia and Sox right-hander Josh Beckett taking center stage on the mound at Fenway, the defending World Series champions will visit their rivals to the north for the first of 18 meetings this season. Last year, the two teams split their series, nine apiece.

Both teams spent the offseason improving clubs that were already championship caliber. The Yankees made a splash by bringing in center fielder Curtis Granderson and starter Javier Vazquez, while the Red Sox will introduce to their fans four new faces: starter John Lackey, third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Marco Scutaro and center fielder Mike Cameron.

Yankees: Will 28th time be the charm?
Manager Joe Girardi -- who wore No. 27 last year -- is now wearing No. 28, hoping for his number to again match the franchise's number of World Series titles at the end of the season. The Yankees are primed to make a good run at becoming the first repeat champs since they won three straight from 1998-2000, having brought in Granderson, Vazquez and DH Nick Johnson to augment their championship club. With Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira in the middle of the lineup, New York figures to continue to rule as baseball's biggest run-scoring machine. Following this series and a weekend visit to Tampa Bay, the Yankees will open their home schedule April 13 vs. the Angels.

Red Sox: New additions join the fight
With left-hander Jon Lester back and Lackey now joining Beckett in the rotation, the Red Sox have a good start at preventing runs. The additions of Beltre at third and Scutaro at short have solidified the left side of the infield defensively, and the arrival of Cameron pushed speedy Jacoby Ellsbury to left field. Boston lost Jason Bay to a four-year deal with the Mets, but the Sox still have serious pop with a 3-4-5 of Victor Martinez, Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz, who's counting on a bounceback season. After this series, the Red Sox travel to Kansas City.

Worth noting
The Yankees and Red Sox last played on Opening Day in 2005, with the Yankees winning, 9-2, behind Randy Johnson. The last time they met in Boston on Opening Day was in 1985, with Oil Can Boyd and the Red Sox beating Phil Niekro and the Yankees, 9-2. ... The Yankees are 62-44-1 all-time on Opening Day, including 28-30 on the road. The Red Sox are 64-45 all-time. ... The all-time series stands at Yankees 1,117, Red Sox 933.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.