Lowell Eyes Yankees

David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez have done more than their share of damage against the New York Yankees over the years. This season, Mike Lowell has been their biggest tormentor.

Lowell and the Boston Red Sox look to push the Yankees a season-high 14 1/2 games out of first place in the AL East when the rivals conclude a three-game series Sunday night at Fenway Park.

Oddsmakers have made Boston -135 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 68% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -135 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Hoping to match a season high with their third straight win, the Yankees (23-30) instead allowed eight runs in the final three innings Saturday in an 11-6 loss that dropped them 13 1/2 games behind the Red Sox.

Lowell had three hits, including a home run and four RBIs as Boston (37-17) rebounded from a 9-5 loss in Friday's series opener and avoided its first three-game skid of the season. He is batting .389 (15-for-39) with team highs of four homers and 13 RBIs in 11 games this season against the Yankees.

Lowell, though, hurt the Yankees with more than his bat Saturday.

His collision with Doug Mientkiewicz on a key play during a five-run seventh inning resulted in the first baseman suffering a mild concussion, a cervical sprain and a fractured bone in his right wrist. Mientkiewicz, who spent the night in the hospital for observation, will be placed on the 15-day disabled list Sunday.

"I feel bad for Doug. You don't want anything like that to happen,'' said Lowell, who played against Mientkiewicz in high school and worked out with him in the offseason. "He knows me well enough. ... I wanted to say something, but they were being so careful."

Lowell also slammed his right shoulder into second baseman Robinson Cano in the fourth inning attempting to break up a double play.

"They taught me how to do it,'' said Lowell, who spent his first four professional seasons in the Yankees organization.

Already without Jason Giambi, who could miss the rest of the season with a foot injury, New York will likely start Josh Phelps at first base on Sunday.

Despite his team's sixth loss in eight games, Yankees manager Joe Torre remained positive.

"Our ballclub is in great spirits right now. We wish we had a seventh inning we could do over again,'' he said. "We're fighting now. We haven't been through this in a while."

Boston, meanwhile, has its best record after 54 games since it also opened 37-17 in 2002. The Red Sox began 40-17 that season, but finished second in the East, 10 1/2 games behind New York.

Josh Beckett (8-0, 2.65 ERA) looks to keep his perfect record intact as he faces the Yankees for the second time in 2007. The right-hander was sharp in his first start off the disabled list Tuesday, limiting Cleveland to two runs and three hits in seven innings in a 4-2 victory.

Beckett, who went on the DL May 18 with a torn flap of skin on his right middle finger, is the first Red Sox starter to win his first eight decisions since Roger Clemens opened 14-0 in 1986.

Beckett's worst start of the season came against New York on April 21, when he allowed five runs and nine hits through 6 1-3 innings in a 7-5 victory. He is 3-2 with an 8.44 ERA in five career regular-season starts against them.

The Yankees counter with Andy Pettitte (3-4, 2.51), by far their most reliable starter this season. Pettitte is 1-1 with a 4.00 ERA in three starts this season against the Red Sox, with his best performance coming in an 8-3 home victory on May 23. He allowed one run and nine hits over seven innings in that game.

Pettitte, who is fourth in the AL in ERA, has surrendered three runs or fewer in six consecutive starts while pitching at least seven innings in his last five appearances.

He is 14-6 with a 3.19 ERA in 24 career regular-season starts against Boston and has struggled against Ramirez, who is batting .418 (28-for-67) with three homers off the left-hander.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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