Full Preview, Predictions for 2014's First Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Clash

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Full Preview, Predictions for 2014's First Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry Clash
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When the New York Yankees spent $503 million during the offseason on reinforcements, a clear objective was portrayed in the Bronx: Narrow the gap that separated the Yankees from the Boston Red Sox in the AL East standings last season.

It will take six months of head-to-head battles, attrition and luck to hash out just how well the Yankees allocated their resources, but baseball fans will have an initial taste of the new-look rivalry starting tonight in New York when the Red Sox arrive for a four-game set. 

Of course, the AL East is an outstanding division from top to bottom. No longer is it a given that New York and Boston will finish in the top two spots. That uncertainty—coinciding with the rise of the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and Baltimore Orioles in 2012—actually makes the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry more interesting.

Now, a wild card berth isn't guaranteed to the runner-up in the AL East rivalry.

During the winter, the Yankees poached Jacoby Ellsbury from Boston and snagged Masahiro Tanaka from the international market. While press conferences and tabloid headlines generated conversation in New York, the Red Sox stood pat after a special season, October run and World Series parade in Boston.

For the first of 19 regular season meetings in 2014, the Yankees and Red Sox will square off for jockeying in baseball's best division. 

Here's everything you need to know about the series.

Statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs, unless otherwise noted. All contract figures courtesy of Cot's Baseball Contracts. Roster projections via MLB Depth Charts. Batter vs. pitcher match-up data is sorted by most plate appearances.  

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