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Yankees At Red Sox: Key Three-Game Series Begins Tuesday

-- See Pinstripe Alley for complete discussion and analysis

CC Sabathia is the unquestioned ace of the New York Yankees starting rotation. Beginning Tuesday night, when the Yankees open a key three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, the Yankees need the big left-hander to start acting like it when he faces the Yankees' chief rival.

The Yankees trail Boston by 1.5 games in the American League East heading to the final month. The difference to this point might very well be what Sabathias has -- or more precisely, has not -- done against Boston.

He has not pitched like an ace. Sabathia has been one of the best pitchers in baseball this season, but that hasn't been the case when facing the Red Sox, as he is 0-4 in four starts against them with a 7.20 ERA.

Against the rest of the league he is 17-3 with a 2.40 ERA.

Sabathia is also just 1-2 in his last four starts.

John Lackey, 12-9 with a 5.98 ERA, pitches Tuesday for Boston.

AL East Standings

Boston 82 51 .616 0 Won 2
New York 80 52 .606 1.5 Won 2
Tampa Bay 73 60 .548 9 Lost 1
Toronto 67 67 .500 15.5 Won 1
Baltimore 53 79 .401 28.5 Lost 2

(updated 8.30.2011 at 12:31 PM EDT)