=== Surging Yankees pay a visit to rival Red Sox ===
(Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox expect to have David Ortiz back in the
lineup this evening when they start a three-game series against their hated
rivals, the New York Yankees, at Fenway Park.
Ortiz hasn't played since May 31 because of a torn tendon sheath in his left
wrist. Even when he played, though, Big Papi was not the feared hitter he has
been in the past, batting just .252 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI in 54 games.
The 32-year-old slugger, who has averaged more than 40 home runs and over a
100 RBI since joining Boston in 2003, showed signs of the old Ortiz in his
six-game rehab assignment, though, going 5-for-18 with three homers, six RBI
and five runs scored.
Without Ortiz the Red Sox went 26-19 and actually gained ground in the
division. When Ortiz went down, the Sox were one game back in the AL East and
thanks to Tampa Bay's loss to Kansas City on Thursday, the Red Sox enter
tonight's matchup tied for first place.
Boston, which is coming a three-game sweep of Seattle, will be starting a
nine-game homestand tonight that will also include visits from the AL West-
leading Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Oakland Athletics.
The Red Sox own the AL's best home mark at 36-11.
Getting the call in tonight's opener for the Red Sox will be righty Josh
Beckett, who will try and beat the Yankees for the fourth time this season.
Beckett last pitched against them on July 4 and allowed four runs and nine
hits over eight innings to run his lifetime mark against them to 7-3 to go
along with a 5.75 ERA in 11 starts.
Beckett fell to 9-6 on the season on Saturday in Anaheim, as the Angels
touched him up for four runs and nine hits in eight innings.
The Yankees, meanwhile, enter tonight's opener as one of the hottest teams in
the league after completing their second straight sweep, taking all three
games from the Minnesota Twins and running their winning streak to six games
Second baseman Robinson Cano has been the offensive catalyst, hitting .519
with two home runs and seven RBI in the six games since the All-Star break.
New York has also gotten tremendous starting pitching over the course of its
tear and will hope to continue that trend tonight with 22-year-old righty Joba
Chamberlain slated to take the hill for the first time as a starter at Fenway
Chamberlain, who is 2-3 with a 2.52 ERA on the season, did not get a decision
on Saturday against Oakland, despite giving up just a run and six hits in six
innings of his team's 4-3 win.
Boston has won five of its nine matchups with the Yankees this season.
07/25 10:50:38 ET