For so many years, the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has been a battle of superpowers in the American League East. But at this juncture of the 2014 season, both teams are just trying to grind it out until they have the success they've been accustomed to.
Both teams are 5-6 heading into Saturday's contest, which has a strong pitching matchup of John Lackey and Hiroki Kuroda.
The Yankees took the opener of this four-game series, 4-1, and the Red Sox hung on for a 4-2 win on Friday.
Neither team has hit their stride offensively.
"Of course, I'm definitely surprised, I think we all are," said Yankees infielder Kelly Johnson. "I think we're doing the best we can to get going. In my opinion, offenses can do this, go up and down, and when it comes, it's going to come in bunches, and we'll make up for it."
The Red Sox got some timely hits in Friday's win -- a solo homer by Jonny Gomes and a three-run shot by Grady Sizemore.
But they've have a hard time sustaining productivity at this point in the season.
"We have some guys that are new to this team that are settling in," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've had some moving parts because of some guys that have been hit with the injury bug. And we're just trying to get some continuity, particularly in the leadoff spot. We're trying to settle in one through nine right now."
And while Yankees have their closer (David Robertson) on the disabled list, the Red Sox are hoping Koji Uehara doesn't suffer the same fate. The righty was unable to pitch in Friday's game because of right shoulder stiffness.
Red Sox: Tazawa an unsung hero
Junichi Tazawa continues to be perhaps the most underrated member of the Red Sox. The righty came through in yet another big spot on Friday, getting Derek Jeter on a flyout to right to snuff out a rally and then getting three big outs in the eighth.
In six appearances this season, the righty hasn't given up a run.
"Well, when you think back to last October, we put him in some of the highest-leverage situations with men on base, and he excelled in it," said Farrell. "He is completely calm and confident."
Yankees: Kelley has ninth-inning duty
Manager Joe Girardi still plans on using Shawn Kelley as his primary closer until Robertson gets back from the disabled list.
"I'll look at where we are in the lineup, but I would lean towards him," Girardi said.
The Yankees are relying on young relievers more than usual at this point of the season.
"You see guys mature is what you do, and you see them start to learn about themselves and what they're capable of doing and having more confidence in themselves," said Girardi. "We've talked a few times about how we saw [David Phelps] take some steps forward in his first Spring Training with us. There was nerves and we didn't think we were seeing the pitcher he was capable of being.
"The same thing for [Adam] Warren, then you saw him take a step in the bullpen the following year, and that's what these guys have done. They've improved in their craft and they've become more comfortable and confident in their surroundings."
• The Yankees expect to get first baseman Mark Teixeira back before May 1, as he recovers from a strained right hamstring.
• After a strong performance by Gomes on Friday, Red Sox leadoff batters are 8-for-42 this season.
• The Red Sox are 5-0 this season when leading after five innings.