The history between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees is one that dates back many years and has been through various cycles of declines and resurgences.
Since its most recent peak in 2004, the rivalry has become less and less a part of baseball narrative. While the days of passionate hatred and animosity, nitty-gritty dog fights, and boisterous chants from the crowd seem to be in the past, this year could be a reemergence of the rivalry that fans know and love.
Eight years have passed since both teams were serious contenders for taking the AL East. Heading into the rivalry series this weekend, Boston leads the American League East with 69 wins. The Yankees fall close behind in second place with 65. The three-game series gives the Red Sox an opportunity to create an even larger gap between the two teams, and gives the Bronx Bombers an opportunity to close it.
For Boston, the challenge will be performing well against standout New York outfielder, Aaron Judge. However, the Yankees may rely too heavily on a strong performance from Judge. To the Red Sox’ credit, they have held him to a batting average of .174 this season. This is an impressive feat, considering he’s hitting .288 on the season.
Both teams have young, talented players that have been consistently contributing to their respective squads. Boston has Mookie Betts (24 years old), and Andrew Benintendi (23) and Rafeal Devers (20). New York has Aaron Judge (25), Aaron Hicks (27) and Gary Sanchez (24). Additionally, each of these players (and a few more) are under team control until at least 2019, meaning that fans could potentially see this rivalry pan out over the next few years.
The highly anticipated series kicks off tonight at Fenway Park. Though there likely won’t be any A-Rod/Varitek style brawls, fans can expect to see the two teams duke it out as they fight for the upper hand on the AL East. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. as Jordon Montgomery opposes Drew Pomeranz on the mound.