Fifty games to go in the regular season, tied for first place in baseball's toughest division, and here's where your Yankees stand: They are the best team to ever scare the daylights out of their fan base.

As if Yankees supporters didn't suffer enough agita with the second through sixth members of the club's starting rotation, CC Sabathia seems to have a Red Sox problem now. The ace pitched terribly Saturday at Fenway Park, suffering a 10-4 loss, which gives him these 2011 numbers against the Bosox:

Four starts. Twenty-five innings. Twenty earned runs. Thirty-three hits. Ten walks. Twenty-one strikeouts. No wins, four losses. A 7.20 ERA.

"It's a good-hitting ballclub," a calm-looking Sabathia said afterward. "I'm sure I'll get some more cracks at them."

Oh, he will. And based on what he has accomplished, you can't possibly think he would get intimidated by Boston's lineup.

No, if you want to draw a general conclusion from this small sample size, you'd say the Red Sox offense is so good that even a pitcher as dominant and accomplished as Sabathia can consistently come up small. Boston now leads the majors with 614 runs, which averages to 5.5 per game. Texas, the next-best offensive club the Yankees face -- the Yankees themselves rank second in runs -- entered Saturday night with 570 runs in 113 games, an average of 5.0 per game.

Not surprisingly, the Yankees went into spin control after the game to explain away Sabathia's rivalry results.

"When I go back in his starts, one game, he went 51/3 [innings]," Joe Girardi said. "Another game he was ahead 2-0 and gave up some runs in the seventh and lost. I would say this was probably the toughest one for him of all the starts."

That's sort of the point, though. Even when Sabathia reports to work with his good stuff, it isn't sufficient to tame the Red Sox. He had to leave his April 10 start after 51/3 innings because he already had thrown 118 pitches. And on June 9, with the Yankees trying to prevent a sweep, Sabathia pitched six shutout innings before melting down in a seven-run seventh.

No one tried to pretend that Sabathia brought a strong repertoire to Saturday's start, in which he permitted seven runs in six innings. "The fastball command wasn't there," he said. "Just all over the place."

"I think you need all your pitches in a game like today," pitching coach Larry Rothschild said. "I think he got into a little bit of a pattern of throwing fastballs when he didn't have to. And he didn't command it as well as he has. He was up a lot. Even his strikes were up and away. They weren't locating as well as he usually locates."

Said catcher Francisco Cervelli, who defended his pitch- calling: "We tried everything. They started hitting fastballs, so we called a lot of breaking balls, changeups. They got a blooper [Mike Aviles' fourth-inning single to rightfield]."

Red Sox centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury delivered the killer blow, a three-run homer with two outs in the fourth on a 2-and-0 fastball. "Two fastballs down and away and then I give him one up out over the plate where he likes it," Sabathia said. "And he put a good swing on it."

"This is a club that has played very well against lefties," Girardi said. "Their lefties hit lefties, and their righties really hit lefties. We've got to figure out a way to get them out."

Sabathia noted that he has pitched well in the past against the Sox, but those Boston lineups didn't hit like this one can.

If even he can't contain this offense . . . Well, maybe the Yankees can root for Detroit's Justin Verlander to carry out their dirty work in the Division Series.

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