From the early going, it appears the struggling Red Sox do not present the challenge of previous years. And that should put a smile on Mark Teixeira’s face as he and the Yankees head to Fenway Park for a three-game weekend series.
Boston (0-6) is off to its worst start since 1945. Red Sox pitching was a disaster in the season-opening series in Texas. Then the bats dropped dead as the Rangers and Indians held Boston to one run or less in three of its past four games, including Thursday’s 1-0 loss at Cleveland.
Now the Red Sox face a Yankees lineup that includes an in-form Teixeira. April is usually his slump month, as illustrated by the first baseman’s .239 career April average — it was just .136 last season.
This time, he’s started well. Before Thursday’s 0-for-3 outing in a 4-3 win over the Twins, Teixeira was hitting .333 with four homers and 10 RBIs, perhaps the result of a stepped-up offseason hitting program.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox were itching to get to friendlier surroundings.
“We’re frustrated as hell right now,” Kevin Youkilis told reporters Thursday after Jon Lester’s seven shutout innings were ruined by an ineffective lineup with offseason additions Adrian Gonzalez (team-high .304 average) and Carl Crawford (.174). “But we are here so you gotta deal with it.”
The Red Sox will likely come around to respectability. But for now, Phil Hughes has a real chance Friday to beat John Lackey (22.09 ERA) and stretch Red Sox Nation’s anxiety to another level. Especially if Teixeira keeps hitting.
“I’m sure it’ll be exciting, as always,” Yanks manager Joe Girardi told reporters. “I don’t know about desperation. They know they’re a very good club, and we know that as well.”
Yankees vs. Boston this regular season (18 games)
Friday through Sunday at Boston
May 13-15 at Yankees
June 7-9 at Yankees
Aug. 5-7 at Boston
Aug. 30-Sept. 1 at Boston
Sept. 23-25 at Yankees