04/05/10 3:03 AM ET
Rivalry primed for more drama
After kicking off the 2010 regular season in grand fashion with a thrilling 9-7 Opening Night slugfest on Sunday at Fenway Park, the Red Sox and Yankees are primed for an equally exciting encore in Game 2 on Tuesday.
But both clubs will be hoping for better performances from their starting pitchers in the second game of the series, with the Red Sox -- who prevailed on Sunday despite a subpar effort from Josh Beckett -- sending left-hander Jon Lester to the mound against the Yankees' A.J. Burnett.
Lester, who won 15 games with a 3.48 ERA along with 225 strikeouts in 203 1/3 innings last season, appears to be in line for a breakout season for Boston and will be looking to start out the year strong against a loaded New York lineup. Lester, though, has fared well against the rival Yankees, having posted a 3-1 record and a 3.88 ERA in eight career starts.
Much like Lester, Burnett has pitched well against his team's biggest rival, posting a 5-2 record and a 4.23 ERA in 12 career starts against Boston. Burnett is coming off an impressive 2009 season in which he won 13 games and posted a 4.04 ERA, accumulating 195 strikeouts across 207 innings.
Both pitchers, however, will have their hands full against two very good lineups. It showed in the opener on Sunday, when Yankees ace CC Sabathia allowed five runs in 5 1/3 innings and Beckett gave up five runs over 4 2/3 innings.
Kevin Youkilis paced the Red Sox's offense with two doubles and a triple in the win, while Dustin Pedroia hit a crucial two-run homer in the seventh inning. The Yankees received offense from Curtis Granderson, who homered in his first at-bat with his new club, and Jorge Posada, who finished with three hits, including a home run in the second inning.
Red Sox: More than just defense
It's been well documented that the Red Sox improved their defense this past offseason with the signings of third baseman Adrian Beltre, shortstop Marco Scutaro and center fielder Mike Cameron, but all three proved they can also provide offense in the Red Sox's Opening Night win, combining to go 5-for-9 with three RBIs and two runs scored and proving to be instrumental in Boston's comeback from a 5-1 deficit.
Yankees: Offense reigns supreme
The Yankees led the Major Leagues with 915 runs scored last season, and if Sunday's game was any indication, they'll have an elite offense yet again in 2010. Newcomers Nick Johnson and Granderson should provide plenty of pop, and they showed their ability to reach base on Sunday with three walks combined. Left fielder Brett Gardner shined in his new role as the club's starting left fielder, going 2-for-4 and swiping home during a fourth-inning double steal in which Derek Jeter advanced to second base.
With Sunday's win, the Red Sox improved to 54-55-1 on Opening Day and 23-17 when starting the season at home, though only 20 of those wins have come at Fenway Park. They also improved to 11-16-1 in season openers against the Yankees and 5-4 in Opening Day contests against the Bronx Bombers at home. ... The Yankees fell to 62-45-1 on Opening Day, including 28-31 on the road. ... Youkilis became the first Red Sox player to record three extra-base hits on Opening Day since Carlton Fisk hit a double and two homers against the Yankees at Fenway Park on April 6, 1973. ... Granderson became the first Yankees player to homer in his first at-bat or plate appearance with the club since Cody Ransom on Aug. 17, 2008, against the Royals.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.