BOSTON -- A few things you should know about the Sox-Yankees series, courtesy of the crack ESPN Stats and Information department (thank you, Katharine Sharp):
-- The Red Sox offense has been above average this season, ranking third in runs and fourth in batting average. But it has relied heavily on power to score runs.
Red Sox batters have hit 40 home runs, the second-most in the American League, and have a league-best .467 slugging percentage. They have scored 42.4 percent of their runs by home runs, the third-highest rate in the American League.
-- The Yankees are off to one of the best starts in franchise history. They have won 8 of their first 9 series, matching the 2003, 1939 and 1928 squads as the only Yankees teams to win 8 of their first 9 series. Only the 1939 and 1928 teams won 9 of their first 10 series (1939 won 11 of first 12 and 1928 won 14 of first 15).
-- A.J. Burnett, who pitches Sunday for the Bombers, is 4-0 for the first time in his career, and his 1.99 ERA is the lowest by a Yankee in his first six starts since Mike Mussina posted a 1.60 ERA in his first six starts in 2003. However, there could be trouble looming in Boston. Burnett has struggled at Fenway since joining the Yankees last year. He’s made four starts here and allowed 23 earned runs in 17 2/3 innings for an ERA of 11.72.
-- Jon Lester struggled in his first three starts, going 0-2 with an 8.44 ERA. Batters hit .313 against him, including 2 HR and 5 doubles. He’s turned it around since then, going 2-0 with an 0.44 ERA, allowing just 1 earned run in 20 2/3 innings. He’s held opponents to a .149 batting average and has struck out nearly 30 percent of batters faced.
-- And for all the hand-wringing in these parts, the Yankees after 27 games last season had the same record as the Red Sox (13-14) and went on to win the division, the AL pennant and the World Series.
-- The Bombers have nine comeback wins, tied for second-most in the AL and the majors. Last year, they led MLB with 51 comeback wins.
-- The bombers are hitting .309 with RISP and 2 outs, the best in the AL.
-- The 2-3-4 hitters in the Yankees order, which for most of the time has meant Nick Johnson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez, rank last in the league in batting average (.206) and slugging (.356).
Rodriguez is off to arguably the worst start of his career (excluding his 1994 season). Through 26 games:
* His .253 batting average is his third-lowest
* His .414 slugging percentage his LOWEST
* His 2 home runs are his FEWEST
* His 17 RBIs are his 4th-fewest
* His 13 runs scored are tied for his 2nd-fewest