The two pitchers who will square off on Friday night at Yankee Stadium would be on anyone's short list of the top lefties in baseball over the past several years.
The Red Sox will send Jon Lester to the mound, and he'll be opposed by Yankees ace CC Sabathia.
Sabathia had the same type of down year in 2013 that Lester had in '12.
But after being hit hard in his first start this season, Sabathia won his last time out -- giving up four hits and four runs in a 6-4 win over the Blue Jays -- and will try to have the type of bounceback season Lester did a year ago.
"I just thought he was down in the zone," said Yankees manager Joe Girardi. "His ball was sinking like it was supposed to. I thought his changeup was good. I thought his slider was good. So I was encouraged."
Lester was a rock for the Red Sox in both of his starts, but he is 0-2 thanks to a lack of run support. His 2.52 ERA is far more indicative of the way he's pitched.
"Well, he's pitched outstanding the first two starts for us," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "Unfortunately, he's pitched on the wrong day, where the offense hasn't been there to pick him up."
Given that Lester is in the walk year of his contract, his starts will probably be more scrutinized than usual, but he hasn't shown any indication of being distracted by that situation.
"I don't think Jon will be affected by the situation he's in contractually. He's a very focused and driven person, and the only focus that he has is on the work that he's doing on a given day," Farrell said. "Whether that's starting on the fifth day or the work in between, he's a mentally strong person. That time will come that they'll address the free agency or the contract, however it turns out."
Red Sox: Offense is lacking
Inconsistent offense is the biggest reason why the Red Sox have lost six of their first 10 games. Farrell hasn't been able to find any production in the leadoff spot, and that has had a trickle-down effect.
"We'll take a closer look at the lineups and what's best [on Friday] against CC," he said. "We're looking to get some continuity and really be able to bunch some hits together, which really hasn't been the case."
Daniel Nava (.139) has been slumping the most, but he belted a homer in the seventh inning on Thursday, which could be a sign he's closer to finding his stroke.
Yankees: McCann hopes to find groove
Catcher Brian McCann was in an 0-for-14 drought before lacing an RBI single to help the Yankees to their 4-1 win on Thursday.
The Yankees hope that hit will get him going.
"It was weird, because I don't feel bad at the plate," McCann said. "You look up, and you're just not getting the hits."
McCann signed a five-year, $85 million contract with the Yankees back in December.
• Red Sox slugger David Ortiz has reached safely in all 23 games he's played against the Yankees since the start of the 2012 season.
• Derek Jeter has hit Lester fairly well over the years, producing at a .333 clip with one homer and eight RBIs.
• Look for David Ross to get the start behind the plate for Boston on Friday night, as he is 6-for-18 with a pair of homers lifetime against Sabathia.