CC Sabathia arrived at Fenway Park on Tuesday desperate to solve the mystery of his biggest rival.


Brought to New York to beat the Red Sox, Sabathia had failed to do so in four previous starts this season, dragging an 0-4 record and 7.20 ERA to Fenway Park for the opener of a critical three-game series.


Across the diamond, tonight’s Red Sox starter Josh Beckett could relate. Or, at least, he used to. In his first five seasons with the Red Sox, the Yankees were an albatross around the righthander’s neck, going 10-7 with a 6.26 ERA in 22 starts.


Even in Beckett’s dominant 2007 season, when he finished as the runner-up to Sabathia in the Cy Young voting, the Yankees enjoyed success, hitting .303 against Beckett and saddling him with a 4.39 ERA, as Beckett went 2-1 in four starts.



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In four starts against the Yankees this season, Beckett is 3-0, with an ERA of 1.00, a 0.85 WHIP and .170 batting-average against. A year ago, the Yankees hung a 10.04 ERA on Beckett in five starts, with a WHIP of 2.04 and a .339 BAA.

“He wasn’t the same pitcher last season and it was a constant battle,’’ catcher Jason Varitek said earlier this month.

Sox won’t see A-Rod in series

The Yankees have a trio of productive hitters in their lineup that have done nicely during Alex Rodriguez’s absence.

Now they’ll try to translate that production against Red Sox pitchers, who likely won’t face Rodriguez. Rodriguez has a jammed left thumb that hurts more on swings and was treated with a cortisone shot Tuesday.

“We do have some guys out, there's no doubt about that,” Nick Swisher said. "Obviously when you're in a situation, you want to be the guy to try and step up. Everyone in the lineup is stepping their game up a little bit.” larry fleisher/metro