Tune in at 8:05 PM ET as the Red Sox take on the Yankees. Callum Hughson will be liveblogging for your enjoyment.
Hiroki Kuroda has been everything the New York Yankees could have hoped for when they signed him to a one-year deal in the offseason.
Josh Beckett, on the other hand, hasn't come anywhere close to pitching like the ace the Boston Red Sox expect him to be.
These right-handers, emblematic of their teams' seasons, square off Sunday night at Yankee Stadium with Kuroda coming off a two-hit shutout against one of baseball's best lineups and Beckett trying to bounce back from another poor outing.
The beleaguered Red Sox (59-62) actually have a chance to win their second straight series in the Bronx following Saturday's 4-1 victory, but the pitching matchup certainly doesn't seem to favor them.
Kuroda (11-8, 3.06 ERA) dominated Texas on Tuesday, yielding two singles and two walks in a 3-0 victory. After a mediocre first two months with the Yankees, he's 8-2 with a 2.30 ERA in his last 15 starts.
Kuroda has allowed three runs over 30 1/3 innings in his last four starts in the Bronx. He struggled at Fenway Park last month, but he pitched very well against the Red Sox at home July 29, allowing two runs in eight innings of New York's 3-2, 10-inning defeat.
Performances like that have been few and far between for Beckett (5-10, 5.19) this year. The Red Sox have gone 2-9 in his last 11 starts, and he has posted a 7.78 ERA in seven outings since the beginning of July.
Over his last two starts, Beckett has allowed 14 runs and five homers in 10 1/3 innings.
Oddly enough, pitching at Yankee Stadium may be a good thing for Beckett, who has won his last three starts there to improve to 9-3 lifetime in the Bronx -- including his World Series-clinching shutout for the Marlins in 2003.
Adrian Gonzalez hit an early two-run homer -- he's batting .373 with 39 RBIs in 33 games since the All-Star break -- and Pedro Ciriaco went 4 for 4. Ciriaco is 15 for 29 (.517) against the Yankees this year.
He helped the Red Sox take two of three at Yankee Stadium from July 27-29, but they haven't been able to sustain any momentum as turmoil continues swirling around manager Bobby Valentine.
New York (71-49) remains in first place, and its loss Saturday was just its third in 11 games.
Curtis Granderson homered for the second straight day and Nick Swisher had three hits. Swisher is 10 for 24 with four homers in six games on this homestand, and 16 for 33 (.485) with five homers and 14 RBIs in 10 games against Boston this year.
Mark Teixeira seems unlikely to return for the series finale after missing the first two games with a sore wrist.
Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Hiroki Kuroda has a 2.12 ERA and has issued just 6 walks in 7 starts since the All-Star break. Prior to the break, Kuroda had a 3.50 ERA and issued nearly 2 walks per start.
Jacoby Ellsbury steps to the plate to lead this game off for the Red Sox.
Ellsbury takes a fastball for a strike and we're underway!
Ellsbury grounds out to 2B to bring up Carl Crawford.
Crawford works the count full, but ends up grounding out to 2B as well. That brings up the hot-hitting Dustin Pedroia. He's riding a 13-game hitting streak.
Pedroia grounds out to Eric Chavez at 3B to end the Red Sox 1st.
Jeter, Swisher and Cano will bat for the Yankees in the bottom of the 1st.
Derek Jeter leads the Major Leagues in hits with 160. He's hitting .317 on the season.
Jeter hits a drive over the head of CF Jacoby Ellsbury for a lead-off double.
Nick Swisher steps to the plate. He's playing first place tonight in place of Mark Texeira who is nursing a sore wrist.
Swisher swings on a 3-0 count but can only ground out weakly to 2B. Jeter advances to 3B. With one on and one out, Robinson Cano will bat.
Cano strikes out swinging on a pitch in the dirt for out #2. That brings up Curtis Granderson.
If you're not familiar with Red Sox/Yankees baseball, strap yourself in. This is going to be a long night. Josh Beckett is taking his sweet time between pitches.
Granderson rips a double into the RF corner; Derek Jeter scores from 3B. The Yankees take a 1-0 lead.
Eric Chavez will bat with 1 on and 2 out.
Chavez flies out to the warning track in LF to end the inning.