Andy Pettitte gets the call to right the Yankees' ship on Friday against the rival Red Sox, after his Wednesday start was postponed due to rain.
The 34-year-old left-hander will be making his fifth start of the season. It comes against a Boston team that upended the Yanks with a three-game sweep one week ago, though all three games were within reach for the Yankees.
No stranger to the Yankees-Red Sox tilts of years past, Pettitte said he will approach this start like any other.
"I don't care. I don't," Pettitte said. "When I go out and pitch, I keep my head down and I don't care who's in the batter's box, and I try to execute pitches. I hope that's what this team does and what most of these guys do when they pitch. You can't worry about everything else."
First baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said the tough weekend in Boston didn't damage the team's confidence, even the Friday game where Mariano Rivera suffered a loss that those in the clubhouse called "shocking." Those games were up for grabs.
"A sweep is never easy to swallow, but it almost didn't really feel like we lost," Mientkiewicz said. "One pitch, one swing, one play. And you take [Rivera] with a four-run lead, we'll win 999 times out of 1,000."
Pettitte said the Yankees' offense has been steady, not to mention a better showing on the defensive side. It's the pitching that's been lacking, and he aims to shift that trend back to normalcy on Friday.
The Yankees bullpen has logged more innings than any team in the American League and is the only Major League club yet to record a save this season, both abnormal statistics for Yankees hurlers.
"As a team, we're fine," Pettitte said. "We just are not pitching good as a staff, and that's why we're struggling. That's it. That's the only reason we're struggling. We've had to use our 'pen more than we'd liked to. They might be forcing it a little bit, and when you get fatigued, you can't do that. You almost have to back off a little bit."
Center fielder Johnny Damon, who played four seasons with the Red Sox, said the rivalry is just that -- a rivalry.
"I don't think we ever worry about who we're playing," Damon said. "We know what we have here, know we have a good team that just hasn't been closing out games or winning games. We'll take on anybody. It doesn't matter."
The Red Sox counter with Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2, 4.00 ERA), who allowed eight hits and six runs against the Yankees, but picked up the win last week.
"Any starter for the Red Sox is going to have good stuff," Mientkiewicz said. "You understand when you put pinstripes on that you're going to get everybody's 'A' game. That's part of the pride to get asked to put this uniform on. You understand that. We saw him last week, and we'll see what adjustments he's going to make from the last start, and we'll go from there."Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (2-2, 4.00 ERA)
Matsuzaka beat the Yankees in his last start, but he said he felt fortunate to come away with a win after allowing eight hits and six runs over seven innings. It will be his first time pitching in Yankee Stadium and his third start on the road, where he's compiled 31 strikeouts and six walks over 27 innings of work. NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.78 ERA)
Pettitte will be making his fifth start of the season. The left-hander, who has made two relief appearances this season -- including one against the Red Sox -- says the extra innings he's worked out of the bullpen won't affect his pitching. Player to watch
Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell wore out Yankees pitchers during Boston's three-game sweep of the pinstripes at Fenway Park last week. In 12 at-bats, Lowell had five hits -- two of them homers -- four runs scored and five RBIs. On the Internet
Official game notes On television
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WCBS-AM 880 AM, WQBU-FM 92.7 FM (Espanol) Up next
Saturday: Red Sox (RHP Tim Wakefield, 2-2, 2.08) at Yankees (RHP Jeff Karstens, 0-1, 14.54), 3:55 p.m. ET
Sunday: Red Sox (RHP Julian Tavarez, 0-2, 8.36) at Yankees (RHP Chien-Ming Wang, 0-1, 5.68), 1:05 p.m. ET
Caleb Breakey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.