Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/5/12

Mired in a team-wide offensive slump, the Boston Red Sox now must contend with the New York Yankees.

It may be exactly what they're looking for.

Having returned from their weeklong slog to the West Coast, the Red Sox are hoping the sight of their longtime rival at Fenway Park snaps them out of their doldrums just in time for the All-Star break. The Sox are 42-40, 7 1/2 games behind the division-leading Yankees in the AL East.

"I think we're excited," Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. "They're in first place and playing good ball. If we're going to do what we want to do, we're going to have to play well against them and beat them and sneak up in the standings."

Over seven games in Seattle and Oakland, the Red Sox scored a total of 14 runs. They batted .200 as a team, .114 with runners in scoring position. And they went only 2-5 against the Mariners and Athletics, two teams that are unlikely to be in playoff contention.

So, perhaps ratcheting up the intensity against the Yankees will be the perfect cure.

"We've played well at home as of late, so hopefully we can use that to our advantage," right fielder Cody Ross said. "Those Yankees-Red Sox games are always fun, so hopefully we can use our fans to our advantage and get back on the right track."

In addition to the uncertainty surrounding the health of Pedroia (thumb) and Will Middlebrooks (hamstring), the Red Sox aren't expecting to get either left fielder Carl Crawford or center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury back from their minor league rehab assignments until after the All-Star break.

The Yankees, meanwhile, will be without left-handers CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte, both of whom are on the disabled list. Instead, they will send Hiroki Kuroda to the mound Friday, followed by Freddy Garcia and Phil Hughes in Saturday's day-night doubleheader and Ivan Nova on Sunday night.

"I mean, everybody is trying to make things happen," Boston designated hitter David Ortiz said. "Of course you put pressure on yourself when things aren't going the way they are right now. But our pitching is doing great, and they're holding the offense down and they're doing what they're supposed to do. Hopefully (the Yankees coming to town) will get us going."

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

John Wall warns Lonzo Ball about having target on his back

Eric Bledsoe raises suspicion with tweet

Browns select empty seat to win prize

Hue Jackson critical after DeShone Kizer stayed out late Friday

Carson Palmer to miss eight weeks with broken arm

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Mitchell Trubisky leads Bears to win despite completing just four passes

Red Sox confirm Alex Cora as new manager

Joe Thomas misses his first career snap after injuring arm

Dolphins fans cheer after Jay Cutler leaves with injury

Browns bench DeShone Kizer again, bring in Cody Kessler

Bills fans boo team off field after hatchet job to end half

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker