Yankees and Red Sox – what rivalry? Two different teams going in two diverse directions. Last year, the Yankees never laid down like this though…
The Yankees, as I write this, are pummeling the Boston Red Sox in the first game of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Boston’s ace, Chris Sale managed only 3.2 innings and was charged with eight runs, all of them earned. DJ LeMahieu has hit two home runs and driven in four. The Yankees offense is charged – they came to play. (Final Score: Yankees 9 Red Sox 2 Box Score)
The Red Sox are not the Yankees. They never were and never will be. Four World Series wins (2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018) are four more than the Yankees have in the 21st Century. But you know what you don’t see? You don’t see a three-peat as the Yankees have in the late Nineties. You don’t even see a two-peat.
Red Sox teams lie down after a World Championship, just as they are doing in 2019. With today’s loss to the Yankees, Boston has now lost six straight, including a sweep by the Tampa Bay Rays, the real challengers to the Yankees in the A.L. East.
Red Sox: How Low Can You Go
Depending on the outcome of tonight’s game, the Red Sox will be nestled in third place, with as many as thirteen games in the loss column to make up before they reach the Yankees. This, with the highest payroll in major league baseball.
Make no mistake, that payroll is the reason the Red Sox stood pat at the trade deadline. With only $2 million to spare before the Luxury tax kicked in, they said – “Eh, why to bother?”
This, despite a disappearing bullpen. A Rick Porcello, who has settled in to being Rick Porcello. And a lineup that can still score runs, the Red Sox, for far different reasons than the Yankees, decided to sit this one out. Gone and buried. These are the Red Sox of 2019.
It was only back on June 18 I wrote a piece that argued the American League East would pass through Boston if the Yankees were going to emerge victoriously. It wasn’t a wish and a prayer, but rather an assessment that at some point in time the Red Sox would become relevant.
Boston was still in hibernation, suffering from the after-effects of a season like no other season. They were too good not to challenge the injury-plagued Yankees. Little did we know then that Chris Sale is human, David Price is as erratic as ever, Mookie Betts would struggle to reach .300, J.D. Martinez would come back to earth, and Alex Cora would wharf into the pedestrian manager he is.
Yes, the Red Sox trail only Oakland as the team to leap over before reaching Tampa Bay and Cleveland, the two teams currently qualifying for a spot in the playoffs as a Wild Card Team.
Is it doable? Of course, it is. But when is that run coming? Where is the “oomph” behind the Red Sox we saw last year?
Where does one find the opportunity for a run in Boston’s upcoming schedule after the Yankees? Unless you want to count those four games in September against the Yankees with a wish and a prayer. I don’t see it.
I’m just angry at the Red Sox for taking part of the fun of the season away. Fighting off Tampa Bay is just not the same as those down and dirty four-hour contests against Boston late in the season.
Forgive me; it’s just not the same.