Wang charged with taming Red Sox

Wang charged with taming Red Sox

Here's one for the tabloids: Joe Torre may be psychic.

Sitting inside the dugout before Saturday's game, Torre explained why he didn't use a particular reliever the previous night. He told reporters: "Even though you would like to expect somebody to go out there and pitch seven innings, there could be a line drive off somebody's bat that changes that."

Well, Saturday's starter Jeff Karstens got nailed by a Julio Lugo line drive on the first pitch of the game.

"I thought of myself saying that when I was running out to the mound," Torre said. "'You never know when a line drive is going to get one of your pitchers,' and there it was. My mom taught me to knock on wood. I didn't do that."

Does it mean Torre could forecast how the Yankees will fare against the Red Sox on Sunday? Simply, no -- but the Yankees' win may have given the team a push toward its usual winning ways.

Statistics are on the Yankees' side going into the series finale against the Red Sox. Julian Tavarez takes the mound for Boston, a pitcher whom several Yankees batters have hit hard in the past: Johnny Damon (.375 in eight at-bats), Jason Giambi (.300 in 10 at-bats) and Alex Rodriguez (.333 in 15 at-bats).

Bobby Abreu is hitting .375 lifetime against Tavarez in 24 at-bats. Six of his nine hits against Boston's rubber-armed right-hander have gone for extra bases -- three homers and three doubles.

Yankees Coverage
Jeter's late homer lifts Yanks
Yanks gear up for lesser opponents
Chamberlain springs curve on Sox
Notes: Peace of mind for Posada

Red Sox Coverage
Schilling's gem ends with loss
Bauman: Game mirrors Classic duel
Sox don't take lead for granted
Notes: Matsuzaka pushed back
Season Series
Yankees win 10-8
• 9/16: Yankees 4, Red Sox 3
• 9/15: Red Sox 10,Yankees 1
• 9/14: Yankees 8, Red Sox 7
Previous season series
2006: Yankees 11, Red Sox 8
2005: Yankees 10, Red Sox 9
2004: Red Sox 11, Yankees 8

Sunday's game seems poised for Abreu to break out of the slump he carried into the series (two hits in his previous 26 at-bats). But Abreu's struggles are just a small sample of the entire team's struggles. Derek Jeter said he and the rest of the pinstripe-donning Yankees need to take the momentum of their Saturday win into Sunday, but still keep things in perspective.

"You can't win 95 games in April," he said. "You have to start slow. This is where you find out how good your team is. It's easy to play this game when things are going your way, but this is when you find out about a lot of guys and find out about a team."

Chien-Ming Wang tries to make it two straight wins for the Yankees. In his only start of this season -- because he's been held back by a hamstring injury -- Wang lost to the Devil Rays, giving up nine hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings.

"Hopefully Wang can pick up where our pitching staff left off," Jeter said.

Giambi said the Yankees record could have been different up to this point. Several of the team's losses have come in close games. But with the seven-game losing streak over, Jeter said the team just has to keep things going.

"You can't sit around and celebrate now because you won one game," Jeter said. "We have to come back and play one (Sunday)."

Pitching matchup
BOS: RHP Julian Tavarez (0-2, 8.36 ERA)
This appears to be a crucial start for Tavarez. After giving up six runs to the Blue Jays in 4 2/3 innings on Tuesday, Tavarez may lose his spot in the rotation to Jon Lester, who is set to make a Minor League start on Wednesday.

NYY: RHP Chien-Ming Wang (0-1, 5.68 ERA)
Wang is making his second start of the season because a hamstring injury kept him out for the better half of April. Against the Devil Rays -- in which he took the loss -- Wang gave up nine hits and four runs in 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday.

Player to watch
Red Sox first baseman David Ortiz has beat up Wang in the past. In 17 career at-bats against the Yankees right-hander, Ortiz owns a .471 batting average with one homer, two doubles and five RBIs.

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• YES

On radio
• WCBS-AM 880 AM, WQBU-FM 92.7 FM (Espanol)

Up next
• Monday: Off-day.
• Tuesday: New York (Phil Hughes, 0-1, 8.13) at Texas (Kameron Loe, 1-1, 5.21), 8:05 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: New York (Andy Pettitte, 1-1, 3.00) at Texas (Robinson Tejeda, 3-1, 3.82), 8:05 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.