Yankees look to ace finale

Yankees look to ace finale

The Yankees look to get back to winning, and Alex Rodriguez may be a big part of that on Wednesday against Boston. The third baseman has hit three home runs in the past four days, and the Red Sox are used to seeing him hit the long ball this season.

A-Rod hit two home runs off of Curt Schilling on April 20 at Fenway Park, and then he homered on Monday in the first contest of this three-game series at Yankee Stadium.

Boston manager Terry Francona remembers the latter long ball well, a shot that snapped a streak of 43 consecutive at-bats without an RBI from Rodriguez.

"[Monday] night, he got a knuckleball up and he hit it, and we could pick it up on the way home," Francona said.

On the pitching side of things, the Yankees bullpen is slowly coming around after being worn out early this season due to injuries. The Yankees are 17-1 when leading after eight innings this season, and reliever Brian Bruney hasn't allowed a run so far in May.

A key factor to the bullpen improvements could be that the Yankees starters have gone deeper into games as of late.

"The better our starting pitching is, the better our bullpen will be," manager Joe Torre said.

Schilling, slated to pitch for the Red Sox, is 7-5 with a 4.57 ERA in 20 career games against the Yankees.

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

Pitching matchup
NYY: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-3, 2.83 ERA)
Pettitte continues to pitch well, but opposite of Schilling, his team hasn't been winning when he starts. In his last outing against the Mets, Pettitte gave up five hits and three runs in seven innings, striking out four and walking one in a 3-2 loss at Shea Stadium.

BOS: RHP Curt Schilling (4-1, 3.57 ERA)
The Red Sox have been winning the games Schilling starts, but the right-hander has struggled as of late. That's not a good sign as he faces the Bombers for the second time this season. In his first start against the Yankees on April 20, he was touched for eight hits and five runs. The Red Sox did, however, win that game.

Player to watch
David Ortiz has 10 hits in 28 career at-bats against Pettitte, including a home run and four RBIs. The left-handed-hitting slugger has also raked three doubles off of Pettitte and owns a .571 slugging percentage against him.

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On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WCBS, 92.7 WQBU (Español)

Up next
• Thursday: Off-day
• Friday: Yankees (Tyler Clippard, 1-0, 1.50) vs. Los Angeles (Jered Weaver, 3-3, 3.46), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Saturday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 3-3, 4.28) vs. Los Angeles (Kelvim Escobar, 5-2, 2.82), 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.