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Yankees Start Second Half With Fenway Trip

Despite being hit by a Matt Harvey pitch in Tuesday's All-Star Game, Robinson Cano should be available for the New York Yankees Friday night as they face archrivals the Boston Red Sox.

Despite being hit by a Matt Harvey pitch in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Robinson Cano should be available for the New York Yankees Friday night as they face archrivals the Boston Red Sox.

With the likelihood of a postseason berth slowly slipping away, the New York Yankees begin the second half of the season with a trip to Fenway Park for a three-game series against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.

20130719_ALEastFriday night’s game will mark the first time the two archrivals have met in Bean Town this season. Last season the Yankees took 10 of 12 games at Fenway, as Boston stumbled to its worst finish since 1994. The shoe could be on the other foot this year though as the Red Sox continue to make a remarkable turnaround while the Yankees, decimated by injuries, are struggling.

Injuries were very much in the New York consciousness even during the All-Star break.

Second baseman Robinson Cano was plunked by a Matt Harvey pitch in the first inning of Tuesday’s Midsummer Classic, and was forced to leave the game. Reported to be a bruised quad, Cano and trainer Steve Donohue are confident that the American League Home Run Derby captain will be healthy enough to take the field Friday night.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continue to have concerns about the health of club captain Derek Jeter. Having strained a quad in his return to action last week, the shortstop will be a game time decision on Friday, according to the New York Post.

Derek Jeter will be a game time decision.

Derek Jeter will be a game time decision.

“All I can tell you is that he is expected to be in Boston,” general manager Brian Cashman told the Post. “I can’t tell you if he’s a player in Boston or not.”

The Post also reported this week that outfielder Curtis Granderson, currently on the disabled list following surgery to repair a broken pinky, could be back sooner than initially expected, which would be a huge boost for the club.

In other injury news, the Yes Network is reporting that third baseman Alex Rodriguez has confirmed he will rejoin the team on Monday. Rodriquez, whose season has been shrouded in controversy, has missed the whole season so far after having hip surgery in the winter.

Still, the Yankees side fielded on Friday may well resemble the ragtag bunch of position fillers that have so far kept the club’s head above water.

With a 2 1/2 game lead over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays, the Red Sox will look to maintain their lead atop the AL East with a win over the injury-stricken Yankees.

The Sox have been on a tear this season, tallying 498 runs, 338 extra-base hits and 357 walks, and putting together a .350 on base percentage, all high-water marks in the majors. In addition, the club is second in team batting average (.277), hits (936) and slugging percentage (.443), behind only the Detroit Tigers in those categories.

New York (51-44, 23-21 road) will send Andy Pettitte (7-6, 4.39 ERA) to the mound Friday night for his first start at Fenway since 2010.

Andy Pettitte will start Friday night.

Andy Pettitte will start Friday night.

The 41-year-old left-hander has struggled for much of the season, recording just eight quality starts in 16 tries. However, he has won each of his last two starts and did record a victory against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium back on April 4. In that game Pettitte went eight full innings, allowing eight hits but just one earned run as the Yankees went on to win 4-2.

Boston (58-39, 31-16 home) will counter with Felix Doubront (6-3, 3.91 ERA). The left-hander was 0-1 in three starts against the Yankees last season.

Doubront has fared slightly better than Pettitte this season, recording 10 quality starts in 16 games. He too has won two straight and also picked up a win in a June 1 game against the Yankees, a game in which he yielded one earned run on six hits. The Sox won the game 11-1.

New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox odds for 7/19/13 are available now.

The Yankees (+132) opened as an underdog against the Red Sox (-142), and most sportsbooks have that line edging further in favor of the team from Fenway. BetOnline currently has the Yankees at +148 and the Sox at -158.

The over/under opened at 9 1/2. New York (37-51-7) has seen the under more times than not this season while Boston (47-46-4) has very marginally favored the over.

The two clubs have split the over/under evenly (3-3) in six games so far this season.

AL East Roundup

Elsewhere in the AL East this weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays (45-49, 25-21 home) will host the Tampa Bay Rays (55-41, 21-22 road). Tampa Bay (-108) was a narrow favorite over Toronto (-102) when the moneyline opened but those odds have improved slightly since. The over/under opened at 8. For more on this matchup, click here.

Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles (53-43, 23-21 road) begin a seven-game road trip with a visit to the Texas Rangers (54-41, 27-19 home). The Orioles (+119) opened as the underdog against the Rangers (-129) and have subsequently slipped further behind.

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