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Yankees vs. Red Sox Preview: Tanaka to the rescue

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The Yankees look to salvage the three game series against the rival Red Sox by sending Masahiro Tanaka to the mound. The Red Sox counter with the Clay Buchholz.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

As the old Yankee fan adage goes, "But the '98 team started out slow!" The Yankees look to avoid an early season sweep at the hands of the Red Sox behind Masahiro Tanaka, who has been able to limit the Red Sox bats in the past. Tanaka has a 4.50 ERA over three starts against the Red Sox, but the final one was at the end of last season where he was simply trying to gauge his health and got lit up. In particular, Mike Napoli has given Tanaka trouble, hitting two home runs last season and inspiring Idiot-Gate.

Tanaka's health has obviously been a point of contention and countless scorching takes. Between the fact that he is still throwing his splitter as fast as he did last season and that Tommy John surgery is not a guaranteed success, this may be the new "Can A-Rod move back to shortstop?" Aside from a hanging sinker to Edwin Encarnacion, Tanaka's previous outing against the Blue Jays (4 IP, 4 ER) is a misrepresentation of how well he actually pitched.

Red Sox ace Clay Buchholz takes the mound for the Red Sox. In true Clay Buchholz fashion, Buchholz owns a 5.64 ERA over 15 starts against the Yankees, but he also has one complete game shutout. Buchholz has been Boston's AJ Burnett for a few years now, so you never really know what you're going to get when he is on the hill. However, Alex Rodriguez apparently does know what he's going to get from Buchholz, having put up a 1.069 OPS against him.

After the marathon game on Friday and Saturday's predictably short Adam Warren start, it would be very nice if Tanaka Time could last into the seventh inning or later. Catch the game on ESPN at 8:05 EST.

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<th align="left">BOSTON RED SOX</th>

<th align="left">NEW YORK YANKEES</th>

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<tr><td class="td-last td-name">Mookie Betts - CF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Jacoby Ellsbury - CF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Dustin Pedroia - 2B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Brett Gardner - LF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">David Ortiz - DH</td><td class="td-first td-name">Carlos Beltran - RF</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Hanley Ramirez - LF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Mark Teixeira - 1B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Pablo Sandoval - 3B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Brian McCann - C</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Mike Napoli - 1B</td><td class="td-first td-name">Alex Rodriguez - DH</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Shane Victorino - RF</td><td class="td-first td-name">Chase Headley - 3B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Xander Bogaerts - SS</td><td class="td-first td-name">Stephen Drew - 2B</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Ryan Hanigan - C</td><td class="td-first td-name">Didi Gregorius - SS</td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name"></td><td class="td-first td-name"></td></tr><tr><td class="td-last td-name">Clay Buchholz - RHP</td><td class="td-first td-name">Masahiro Tanaka - RHP</td></tr></tbody>

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