The greatest rivalry in sports is officially back! For the first time since 2004, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet in the postseason.
The Red Sox enter the ALDS following a season in which they won a third-straight division title and set a franchise record with 108 regular season wins.
The Yankees, on the other hand, reached the ALDS by winning the Wild Card game for a second straight year. They were the first Wild Card team to win 100 games in the regular season since it was implemented in 2012.
Speaking of 100 wins, the last time that two 100-win teams met in the playoffs before the World Series was 1977 when the 102-win Royals took on the 100-win Yankees in the ALCS. The Yankees went on to win the World Series that year. It’s fitting that the streak was broken by the Yankees and the Red Sox.
It’s clear that history is going to be made this week, so here’s a numbers breakdown about everything you else need to know about the series. (Credit to Dom Muccilo for his help on research).
While the Red Sox have seen regular season success over the past three years, it has not translated to the postseason.
Since 2016, the Red Sox have a 1-6 record in the postseason. They got swept in the ALDS by the Indians in 2016, and lost again in the ALDS to the Astros in 2017. They failed to win a game on the road in both series’. The Red Sox have not won a playoff game on the road since 2013.
The team’s struggles ultimately stem down to their core players. Chris Sale’s career postseason ERA is a 8.38 while David Price‘s is a 5.03. Mookie Betts has 0 postseason RBI in 29 plate appearances. To put that in perspective, former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte had 1 postseason RBI in five fewer plate appearances.
The narrative has been a bit different in the postseason for the Yankees. They’re 8-6 in the postseason since last year, including their dominant 7-2 Wild Card victory against the A’s this year. The Yankees have played twice as many playoff games as the Red Sox in the past three years with one less appearance.
Yankees numbers against the Red Sox
The Yankees were 9-10 against the Red Sox this season, going 6-3 at home and 3-7 on the road.
Giancarlo Stanton in particular has played well against the Red Sox this season, batting .371 with 5 home runs, 13 RBI, and 7 extra-base hits in 78 plate appearances. Aaron Judge has also fared well, batting .346 with 5 home runs, 10 RBI, and 6 extra-base hits in 61 plate appearances.
Pitching-wise, here’s how the Yankees first three starters have pitched against the Red Sox this season:
- J.A. Happ: 22.2 innings pitched, .198 batting average against, 20 strikeouts, 6 walks, 2 home runs, 1.99 ERA. Happ hasn’t had an ERA above a 2.33 against the Red Sox in a season since 2014.
- Masahiro Tanaka: 19.0 innings pitched, .345 batting average against, 18 strikeouts, 5 walks, 6 home runs, 7.58 ERA.
- Luis Severino: 30.1 innings pitched, .240 batting average against, 31 strikeouts, 10 walks, 1 home run, 3.56 ERA.
Here’s how the Yankees top relievers have pitched against the Red Sox this season.
- Dellin Betances: 5.2 innings pitched, .191 batting average against, 9 strikeouts, 3 walks, 1 home run, 3.18 ERA
- David Robertson: 8.1 innings pitched, .115 batting average against, 9 strikeouts, 1 walk, 0 home runs, 0.00 ERA
- Aroldis Chapman: 6.0 innings pitched, .296 batting average against, 12 strikeouts, 5 walks, 1 home run, 10.50 ERA
- Chad Green: 10.1 innings pitched, .237 batting average against, 11 strikeouts, 1 walk, 2 home runs, 4.35 ERA
- Zach Britton: 4.2 innings pitched, 0.67 batting average against, 3 strikeouts, 8 walks, 0 home runs, 0.00 ERA. Britton hasn’t allowed a run to Boston since 2016 (7.2 IP)
Red Sox numbers against the Yankees
Similar to the Yanks, the Red Sox were 7-3 at home against the Yankees and 3-6 on the road.
Mookie Betts has been phenomenal against the Yankees this season, batting .415 with 3 home runs and 15 RBI on 79 plate appearances. The narrative is the same for fellow star J.D. Martinez, who is batting .333 with 4 home runs and 20 RBI on 79 plate appearances against the Yankees this season.
Another name that Yankees fans will not forget is Steve Pearce. This season, Pearce has 5 home runs on 43 plate appearances against the Yankees this season – including a grand slam. In his career, Pearce is batting .288 with 15 home runs and 36 RBI against the Yankees.
Pitching-wise, this is how the Red Sox top three starters have thrown against the Yanks this season:
- Chris Sale: 13 innings pitched, 1 earned run, 0.69 ERA, .188 batting average against
- David Price: 15.2 innings pitched, 18 earned runs, 10.34 ERA, .304 batting average against
- Rick Porcello: 23.1 innings pitched, 6 earned runs, 2.31 ERA, .139 batting average against
And here are how their top relievers fared:
- Joe Kelly: 7.1 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 3.68 ER, .286 batting average against
- Craig Kimbrel: 5.2 innings pitched, 3 earned runs, 4.76 ERA, .227 batting average against
- Matt Barnes: 4.1 innings pitched, 4 earned runs, 8.31 ERA, .188 batting average against
It goes without saying that this is a super important stretch of games for both teams. Throw away everything that happened in the regular season, because all that matters is what happens in these next 3-5 games – and it’s certainly going to be a long and painful offseason for whoever doesn’t advance.
Prediction: The red-hot Yankees steal a game in Boston and take care of business on their home field. Yankees in 4.