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Pettitte ready to tackle tough Sox lineup

Pettitte ready to tackle tough Sox lineup

Yankees starter Andy Pettitte owns a ranch in south Texas, just like his friend Josh Beckett, who hails from Spring, Texas. The two Texans round out the top five of American League ERA leaders. But they've been less successful finding common ground among the cattle and chaparral in their shared home state.

"We haven't had a chance to [visit in Texas]," said Pettitte, who played high school baseball at Texas' Deer Park High. "We've tried to hook up with each other, be in contact with one another. But it's a little too difficult in the offseason. It's pretty busy."

On Sunday at 8:05 p.m. ET, Pettitte and Beckett will share the same mound nearly 2,000 miles away from home, for Game 3 of a hotly contested Red Sox-Yankees series. Now 34 years old and with 189 career wins to his credit, Pettitte has come a long way from Deer Park to Fenway Park. He's come a long way even from Houston, where he spent three seasons with the Astros, to re-engage in the blood feud of the Red Sox rivalry as a repeat Yankee.

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Pitching at Fenway, where Pettitte has a 2.92 career ERA but 1.41 walks and hits yielded per inning, is never easy, not least for Red Sox opponents.

"They're a tough lineup," Pettitte said. "They've got great hitters up and down their lineup. They've got guys that are hot up and down their lineup. You just try to make as good pitches as you can."

"It's always a little more mentally grinding facing Boston," he said. "But they're all a grind, right now, the way that this year's going."

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 (3-4, 2.51 ERA)
Pettitte's worst performance of the season came against Kevin Youkilis and the Red Sox on April 27, when he allowed five earned runs and 11 baserunners in 4 2/3 innings. Were it not for that line, Pettitte would have a 2.01 ERA in 71 2/3 innings for the season, second best in the league.

BOS: RHP Josh Beckett (8-0, 2.65 ERA)
It's not 2003 anymore. Beckett has been through plenty since his dominant World Series Game 6 performance against the Yankees. Relocated from Florida to Boston in 2006, where Beckett was hammered by New York, Beckett has rediscovered the subtleties of pitching and rolled off eight straight wins to start the 2007 season. In his first start against the Yankees this year, Beckett allowed a season-high four earned runs in 6 2/3 innings, but still won the game.

Player to watch
Beckett has not fooled red-hot Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, who is 6-for-11 with a home run against the right-hander.

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

On television
• ESPN

On radio
• WCBS-AM 880 AM, WZAA-FM 92.3 FM (Español)

Up next
• Monday: Yankees (TBA) at White Sox (Jon Garland, 3-3, 3.91), 7:05 p.m. ET
• Tuesday: Yankees (Tyler Clippard, 2-1, 4.20) at White Sox (Mark Buehrle, 2-2, 3.36), 8:11 p.m. ET
• Wednesday: Yankees (Chien-Ming Wang, 4-4, 4.19) at White Sox (Javier Vazquez, 3-3, 3.95), 8:11 p.m. ET

Alex McPhillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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