96-92. This is the Yankees record against the Boston Red Sox since the year 2009, including the two games played in April of this year. 96-92. Just four games over .500, and if you don’t include the two games in April, it’s an even smaller margin of just two games over .500.
All of that baseball. All of those games. 188 in all. All of that time. A gazillion innings later… and it’s practically even.
That’s the beauty of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. It’s been a back and forth chess match with no end in sight. It’s been years of dominance for one team, and years of dominance for the other. It’s been years of tied records in the end and years of a playoff birth for both, one, or neither. There’s been a year for a broken curse, years of iconic fights, a year with a 19 inning game, and a year with a shortstop diving into the stands with a backup catcher walking it off.
But most of this? It all happened before 2009. It all happened when the rivalry was in full swing. When the hatred ran deep. When Pedro Martinez knocked down Doc Zimmer. When A-Rod fought Jason Varitek. When Aaron Boone sent Boston home. When Dave Roberts ran and ran and ran on Yankee pitching to help the Sox win in what was the most historic comeback in sports history.
Then things fell quiet. Both teams went about their business. The Yankees won in 2009. The Red Sox won in 2013. Players were traded or retired. The hatred didn’t run as deep. The games weren’t as intense. The faces weren’t as familiar.
In 2011, the Yankees were 6-13 against the Sox. In 2012, the Sox were 5-13 against the Yankees. In 2013, the Yankees were 6-13 against the Sox. In 2014, the Sox were 7-12 against the Yankees. Not much drama. No close records. No heated series’. Each team had a year of dominance, and no year felt evenly matched.
Everyone, including the fans, took a collective breath. We sensed this old chapter was ending and wondered what the next chapter would hold.
Then came a new era in Yankee brass. A new era in young coaches like Alex Cora and Boone. New analytical binders and dropped contracts like A-Rod’s. Like Cashman “throwing away a season” in trading away big names for young prospects, promoting young talent like an Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Tyler Austin. The Red Sox bringing up young talent they stored away and signing a slugger like J.D. Martinez.
The last two years have been filled with young talent, for both teams, and a renewed rivalry and hunger to win. Both teams are good. Really good. One team made it to within one game of the World Series. The other won it. Both teams hate each other. Tyler Austin against Joe Kelly. Aaron Judge’s boombox against the Red Sox clubhouse.
Last year the regular season ended in a near tie, with the Yankees going 9-10 against them, with the dagger being the Red Sox sweeping the Yankees in four games during a late August match up, effectively ending the Yankees bid to win the division. The Red Sox went on to beat the Yankees in the Division Series and won the World Series, capping off an historic 108 win season.
Enter 2019. The Yankees replaced their jinxed boombox with strobe lights, fog machines, and big wins. The Red Sox replaced their 108 win season with mediocre baseball and shoddy pitching. The Yankees have momentum. The Red Sox have a hangover. The table is set. The food is plated. All the Yankees have to do now is feast.
It’s only May 31 and the New York Yankees have the chance to close the door on Boston’s hopes at a pennant.
Yankees versus Red Sox always present big games. The players get hyped. The fans get hyped. The media gets hyped. Even in June it can feel like a playoff atmosphere, but for these 2019 Yankees, I believe they should play like it is, too. Yes, it’s June, and the Yankees cannot win the division this early in the season, but the Red Sox sure can lose it. As long as the Yankees do what they’re supposed to do: sweep the Sox and effectively ruin their chances to win this division, just as they did to the Yankees last August.
As it stands today, the Red Sox are 7.5 games behind the Yankees. If the Yankees were to sweep this now three game set, they’d be 10.5 games up, with the Sox having to make up 11 games in the loss column. Unless the Yankees have an historic meltdown of epic proportions, that’s a pretty daunting deficit to come back from, even in June. Impossible? No. Probable? Yes.
The New York Yankees will have a chance to put their rival, World Series Champion, 108 win Boston Red Sox to bed. In June. Who saw that coming this early in the year? What more can you ask for as a Yankee fan?
This doesn’t mean the rest of the Yankee/Red Sox series’ mean nothing. There is plenty of baseball left between these two rivals, and you can bet the Red Sox will fight tooth and nail to stay within striking distance of the Yankees. They are the defending world champs, remember. The battle will continue all season long and the Red Sox will be vying for a Wild Card spot. They’ll play each other 8 times in 11 days this August and things are sure to get heated in those dog days of summer.
So the late season match ups and the new school players will have an old school feel. This is the new chapter we all were waiting for. The rivalry that was, now is. Another decade of war between these two? Yes, please. The Red Sox won last year’s battle. So if history has proven anything these last decades, I believe it’s the Yankees turn next.
If only the Tampa Bay Rays would go back to their Devil Ray ways.