If the New York Yankees (75-64) end up making the playoffs, they may have Boston Red Sox pitcher Ryan Dempster to thank for it.
The last time the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees faced each other, Dempster hit Yankees' third baseman Alex Rodriguez with a 3-0 pitch in the second inning. After that, Yankees manager Joe Girardi was an outraged and was tossed from the game. From there, the Yankees scored four runs in the six inning to defeat the Red Sox 9-6 in Boston.
Since that victory, the Yankees have won 11 out of their last 16 games and find themselves in the thick of the AL Wild Card race. The Yankees are 2.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the final wild card spot. The Yankees aren't the only team coming into this matchup on a hot streak.
The Boston Red Sox (84-57), who lead the American League East by 5.5 games over the Rays, have won eight of their last 10 games. The team is fresh off their shellacking of the Detroit Tigers 20-4 on Wednesday, in which the Red Sox hit eight home runs.
On Thursday, the Red Sox turn to righty Jake Peavy, who is 3-1 with a 3.18 ERA in six starts since being acquired from the Chicago White Sox. Ivan Nova will open the four-game series for the New York Yankees. Here are the rest of the pitching matchups for the entire four-game series.
Boston Red Sox New York Yankees
Thursday: Jake Peavy (11-5 3.91 ERA) vs Ivan Nova (8-4 2.88 ERA)
Friday: Felix Doubront (10-6 3.89 ERA) vs Andy Pettitte (10-9 4.01 ERA)Saturday: John Lackey (8-12 3.22 ERA) vs David Huff (2-0 1.13 ERA) Sunday: Jon Lester (13-8 3.88 ERA) vs Hiroki Kuroda (11-10 2.99 ERA)