The New York Yankees haven't struggled this much in the batter's box to start a season in nearly 50 years.
Facing Clay Buchholz may only make matters worse if his gem in Boston's season opener was any indication.
The Red Sox look to cap a sweep of the New York Yankees in the Bronx on Sunday night.
New York (1-4) was limited to five hits in an 8-4 loss Saturday after going 14 for 67 in a 6-5, 19-inning loss in Friday's opener. The Yankees are batting .193, including .167 with runners in scoring position, and have struck out 34 times over the last three games. It's their worst batting average through five games since 1968 when they hit .176, also starting 1-4. Everyday players Mark Teixeira, Chase Headley, Didi Gregorius, Carlos Beltran and Stephen Drew are all hitting less than .189.
Joe Kelly gave Boston (4-1) its fourth quality start Saturday, allowing one hit and striking out eight over seven innings. Buchholz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) produced the first with a masterful performance on Monday, fanning nine while yielding three hits over seven innings in an 8-0 win at Philadelphia.
"Mechanically, I'm in a lot better spot," Buchholz, who posted a 5.34 ERA in 2014, told MLB's official website. "I feel like I'm within my delivery with every pitch. ... I feel like I know my mechanics better than I did at any point last year. Yeah, it just puts me in a better spot to command and throw strikes."
Buchholz didn't look much like the pitcher who went 0-2 with a 6.88 ERA in three starts against the Yankees last year. The right-hander is trying to move to 2-0 on the road after not recording his second road victory last season until June 25, his seventh outing away from home.
Masahiro Tanaka (0-1, 9.00) is trying to shake off a forgettable opening day performance. He needed 82 pitches to get through four innings, giving up five runs, five hits and two walks in a 6-1 loss to Toronto. Tanaka only threw 27 fastballs, fueling speculation that he over-adjusted to protect himself from further injuring the partially torn ligament in his elbow, though manager Joe Girardi suggested otherwise.
"My conversations with him, it's a strategic thing," Girardi said. "He knows that his four-seamer got hit some last year."
Tanaka has thrown only 11 innings in three regular-season starts since being diagnosed with the injury, giving up 17 hits and 13 runs - 10 earned. The shortest was a 10-4 loss to Boston on Sept. 27 in which he gave up seven runs with five earned and seven hits in 1 2-3 innings. He split his other two starts against the Red Sox, giving up four runs - all on solo homers - in 16 1-3 innings.
Mike Napoli was 0 for 4 Saturday, falling to 0 for 17 on the season, though he's 3 for 6 off Tanaka with two homers.
Alex Rodriguez, who is 5 for 18 with two walks and eight strikeouts, is 10 for 25 against Buchholz. He committed an error Saturday while playing first base for the first time in his career as Teixeira got the day off.
"Not that I needed more evidence to tell you how great Mark Teixeira is and has been over there for so many years," Rodriguez said. ''I had more action, my head is spinning."
Boston's Daniel Nava is 4 for 6 with four RBIs in the series.