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Game 20: New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox, Tanaka vs. Lester

Ellsbury returns to Boston, and Tanaka makes his Fenway debut

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

It's telling that Yankee fans talk about Tanaka's Fenway debut. That's how tightly intertwined the Yankees and Red Sox are in our sports psyches. I expect Tanaka to be booed. I expect Ellsbury to be politely cheered with some boos mixed in. I expect Derek Jeter to be booed (I think the "goodbye" cheer will come later in the season).

The season is still so young, and yet we can see the story lines beginning to emerge. The porous infield defense, the injuries and the specter of injury hanging over every part of the roster, the modest lineup, the best pitching staff of the last ten years.

The AL East is not (at the moment) the most competitive in baseball- first and last place in the AL Central are only a game and a half apart. But the AL East is still the division most likely to end in a horse race.

There are no "it's early" games. There are no "only April" games. This division could come down to a couple of games. The Yankees face Boston's ace tonight, and they need to find a way to hit.

Today's Lineups

Jacoby Ellsbury - CF Grady Sizemore - RF
Derek Jeter - SS Dustin Pedroia - 2B
Carlos Beltran - DH David Ortiz - DH
Alfonso Soriano - LF Mike Napoli - 1B
Mark Teixeira - 1B Jonny Gomes - LF
Brian McCann - C A.J. Pierzynski - C
Yangervis Solarte - 3B Xander Bogaerts - SS
Ichiro Suzuki - RF Brock Holt - 3B
Brian Roberts - 2B Jackie Bradley - CF
Masahiro Tanaka - RHP Jon Lester - LHP