While a Red Sox-Yankees series feels more significant than any other regular-season matchup, the teams’ first clash of the year always takes on an added measure of importance. It’s the rivals’ first chance to size each other up and truly see where they stand early on in the race for the AL East title.
This year there is added historical significance, as today the Red Sox will be hosting a lavish ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the first game at Fenway Park. The Sox and Yankees will be dressed in garish throwback uniforms to commemorate the occasion, and a parade of living Red Sox legends will be brought through to honor the franchise’s rich history.
Ultimately, though, the focus will become about the baseball being played on the field in 2012.
After being swept by the Texas Rangers and falling to 4-8 on the season, the Red Sox have dug themselves a huge hole to start the year. At 7-6, the Yankees have fared only slightly better.
Both teams are struggling on the mound, particularly with their starters; before the games Thursday night, the Yankees' starting staff ERA of 5.77 put them at 27th of 30 MLB teams, with the Sox tied for last in baseball at a robust mark of 5.97. The Sox will send out Clay Buchholz, Felix Doubront and Daniel Bard for this three-game set, and the Yankees will counter with Ivan Nova, Freddy Garcia and CC Sabathia.
The offenses have both been solid overall, if a little erratic. Prior to the Yankees’ 7-6 win over the Twins on Thursday, both teams’ bats had produced similar totals of runs (62 for the Yankees to 59 for the Sox), hits (113 to 107) and slugging percentage (.433 to .430) in the same number of games (12).
Based on the way these teams have been playing lately, fans can expect a high-scoring series. If the Red Sox want to win at least two of these three games, here are 10 things that they’ll need to accomplish: