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W:M.Tanaka(3-0) L:J.Lester(2-3)
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American League Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, April 22nd (All times Eastern)

New York Yankees (11-8) at Boston Red Sox (9-11), 7:10 p.m.

Probable Starting Pitchers: New York - Masahiro Tanaka (2-0, 2.05) Boston - Jon Lester (2-2, 2.17)

(SportsNetwork.com) - There were was nothing but good feelings inside Fenway Park this past weekend, as the Red Sox and their fans commemorated the one year anniversary of the marathon bombings.

That may not be the case on Tuesday when Jacoby Ellsbury returns to Beantown as a member of the New York Yankees.

A first-round pick of the Red Sox in 2005, Ellsbury spent seven seasons in Boston and was part of two World Series titles, including last year when he hit .298 and led the majors with 52 steals.

Ellsbury, though, jumped ship this winter, signing a 7-year, $153 million deal with the Yankees.

"You can't think about what they're going to do," Ellsbury said of the fans' reaction to him. "In this game, you can really only focus on what you can do, not worry about all that other stuff that you can't control.

"We'll see what happens. I gave the organization everything I had for a third of my life. Nine years in an organization -- drafted by them, came up and won two World Series. I left it all on the field."

Adding even more intrigue to the opener of this three-game series will be Yankees right-hander Masahiro Tanaka's first visit to Fenway.

"I'm looking forward to seeing him pitch," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "I think anyone who is a fan of the game is going to look forward to watching a highly-touted guy coming to the Major Leagues here. We know that he's got a well-above-average split-finger fastball. We're looking forward to seeing him on the field and across the field from him."

Tanaka has been as good as advertised for New York, going 2-0 with a 2.05 ERA in three starts. He was marvelous on Wednesday against the Chicago Cubs, as he scattered two hits and struck out 10 over eight scoreless innings.

The Japanese superstar has recorded at least eight strikeouts in each of his first three major league starts, joining Stephen Strasburg (2010 Nationals) as the only two pitchers since 1900 to accomplish the feat.

"I understand that if you give up fly balls, it might be dangerous, so I think the best thing to do is try to get as many ground balls as possible," Tanaka said when asked about pitching at Fenway Park.

Boston will counter with its ace, as Jon Lester takes the hill trying to win for the third straight time. Lester beat the Chicago White Sox on Thursday, as he held them to a run and seven hits in eight innings. He also struck out nine batters without issuing a walk.

Lester has faced the Yankees 27 times and 12-5 against them with a 3.90 ERA.

Boston lost on Patriots' Day Monday, as the Orioles handed them a 7-6 defeat.

The Red Sox, who held an impassioned ceremony dedicated to those impacted by the bombings prior to Sunday night's game, nearly erased a sizeable deficit for the second straight day.

However, the Red Sox, who found themselves down by six in the third inning, came up just short, but still managed a split in the four-game set.

"We did a great job of coming back, but the six-run deficit in that third inning proved the difference," said Farrell.

New York, which took three of four from the Red Sox earlier this season, also split a four-game series over the weekend with the Tampa Bay Rays, but has won six of its last eight games.

04/22 10:43:22 ET