The Red Sox and the Yankees – A Two Horse Race

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It is a two-team race in the AL East at this point.  The Red Sox/Yankees series this weekend will be one to watch.

The 89th midsummer classic hosted in the nation’s capital is vastly approaching.  With 19 games remaining on the first half slate, the Red Sox find themselves a half a game behind the Evil Empire New York Yankees.

For the first time since 2004, the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry series is alive and well.  Since Cashman made the decision to gut the Yankees system allowing for the young players to get their feet wet, the Bronx Bombers were well on their way to completely being reborn.  A few years later the Yankees youth mix with pivotal veterans have officially arrived.

The young core of Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, and Eduardo Rodrigues have come into their own and they are establishing themselves as some of the games best young talents.  The addition of veterans Mitch Moreland and JD Martinez providing more pop has the Red Sox ascending to the top tier of baseball.

In addition to the series’ competitive nature being revived, it honest-to-god means something now.  Perched atop the AL East, the Yankees lead the Red Sox by a ½ game.  Things are looking relatively healthy as both Boston and New York coasted to wins tonight.  The Yankees move to 52-25 and the Red Sox improve to 53-27 keeping both well in command of the AL East.  Not only are both teams commanding their respective division, they own the two best records in all of baseball.  In a related note, the defending world champion Houston Astros own the 3rd best record in

The Baby Bronx Bombers aren’t the only ones teeing off at will in 2018.  A new hitting philosophy comprised around launch angle has taken full effect.  It’s perfectly normal for one to be skeptical of professional hitters using launch angle as their prime ingredient on leaving the yard more often.  Toss skepticism aside.  It’s working and both teams are thriving at a high clip.  Check out the updated numbers.  It’s absurd how both are plugging away via the long ball.

Through 77 games, the Yankees lead all of baseball smashing 127 home runs.  Hot on their tails the Red Sox rank second slugging 113 home runs themselves 80 games in.  Run production, surprise-surprise, Boston ranks second overall in runs scored at 413 and New York third scoring 398 runs.  Only the Houston Astros stake claim to the top spot in scoring runs with 419.

Chris Sale, Rick Porcello, David Price, and Eduardo Rodriguez have not been just stable.  They have been strong.  Sale has had some bad luck lacking run support but in his last start, Sale struck out 13 and his final pitch of Sunday’s outing was clocked at 100 mph.  Sale exited the game on a well deserved standing ovation by the Fenway Faith.

Rick Porcello had a rough post-Cy Young season last year.  This season, Porcello is looking more and more like the Porcello of 2016.  It couldn’t come at a better time.  David Price.  Well folks, for those who are quick to rip Price for his sarcastic banter about playing Fortnite, put a sock in it!  The bottom line, David Price is doing his job effectively once again.  He’s healthy and he’s executing the way he’s expected.

Eduardo Rodriguez has been good.  He has one problem though.  The nitpicking of the strike zone after getting ahead of each hitter seems to come back to bite him during every start.  Take away the nibbling and Eddy has been stellar.

Boston’s unsung heroes for the Red Sox starting pitching approach to this season are manager Alex Cora and pithing coach Dana LeVangie.  The 2016 and 2017 seasons had promise.  The brain trust of John Farrell and Carl Willis believed in their starters in which they should have.  Their issue was riding the starters until they were completely spent before allowing the bullpen to do their job.

Not this year.  Cora and LeVangie have tightened the reigns in actually having a plan involving each starting pitcher’s durability.  Most managers ask their starter how they are feeling.  Of course each starter will say they are doing fantastic and have plenty left in the tank.  Why wouldn’t they.  Cora and LeVangie are no different.  That said they will tell their starting pitcher, whether it’s Sale, Price or Porcello, when they feel their day is over.  Because of this strategy, Boston starters are literally being managed effectively.  Maybe, just maybe the Red Sox starting pitching staff will be regular season strong once postseason play arrives.

When was the last time the Red Sox and Yankees were this dominant across the board?  Let’s keep it simple.  It’s been a while.

First year managers Alex Cora and Aaron Boone have brought with them a new outlook creating a new clubhouse environment to which favorable team chemistry is spilling onto the diamond game in and game out.  Like any manager in the league, Cora and Boone will and have encountered mind-boggling moments that had team loyalists stuck in the surrender cobra position.  Though living their dream jobs, they are very much aware the task of managing a baseball game is not easy…at all.

Not saying the Red Sox and Yankees already have the AL East wrapped up air tight but with the closest team both clubs, the room for error for Tampa Bay (14.0 GB), Toronto Blue Jays (16.0 GB), and the Baltimore Orioles (29.5 GB) is slim to none.  Something either of the bottom three teams can do without winning the division is play the role of spoiler.  The memory of the final night of the 2011 season is a night that will live in infamy among Red Sox fans everywhere.  It’s highly unlikely but there are some things the human condition have a horrible time forgetting about.

This Friday chapter 3 of the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry takes center stage in a 3-game set in Yankee Stadium.  So far teams are dead even in their first 6 games this season.  Thirteen meetings remaining and even after the night the Joe Kelly Fight Club was born into existence, we haven’t seen the best of baseball’s best showdown.

 

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