The Boston Red Sox are 10-2 against the New York Yankees this season. Why? What has caused such separation between the two best teams in the American League? After all, the Yankees are only a half game back in the division, despite the beating by their rivals.
The boys from the Bronx are 70-36 against everyone else. They are leading the Wild Card and only a half game back in the division, so it seems likely the Red Sox and Yankees have an October meeting ahead. But for now, Boston holds the upper hand and there are plenty of reasons why.
The Red Sox are 6-0 at Yankee Stadium.
There is nothing in baseball as dominant as going into another team’s place and sweeping them, except perhaps doing it twice. In the games that I’ve watched live, the Red Sox play with more energy and the pitching is incomparable.
Of course, none of these numbers will matter on October 1. But be sure it will be in Boston's mind when they come into the Bronx for a playoff game that they own the Yankees there.
Don't expect it to bother New York as much. Most of the team has been around enough to know the slate is clean when the playoffs start.
The Yankees have gotten sloppy. They’ve committed six errors in 10 losses to Boston. Fielding errors are symptomatic of lack of concentration.
With an opponent like Boston, you need your best game to beat them, and there is no room for extra outs given away. Nolan Ryan once said, “Their 28th out will beat you every time.”
Fielding has often been a sore issue with the Yankees, as both Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have come under heat for glove issues as they aged. But champions play complete games, and that includes the defensive half. Lack of focus is much more expensive in the playoffs.
Josh Beckett is 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 0.852 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 against the Yankees this season. Beckett carries a 5.37 career ERA against the Yankees, and his seven losses to them is tied for most against any team, but he has figured it out this season.
As long as the Red Sox have Beckett and Jon Lester at the top of their rotation, they will be a very tough team to beat in five or seven game series. The Yankees will have to hit Beckett at some point. Every time he dominates them, the team's confidence falls.
Beckett is having one of the best seasons of his career this season in Boston. If not for the McGwire/Sosa-esque race between Justin Verlander and Jered Weaver, Beckett would surely be in the Cy Young discussion.
Sabathia- CC Sabathia is 0-4, with a 7.20 ERA against Boston this year. When you are the only impact arm in the rotation, that simply can’t happen against the Red Sox.
That offense will chew up and spit out the lesser arms, as they have, but Sabathia is the guy the Yankees need to be able to trot out in Game 7 of the ALCS at Fenway Park and feel confident he can take care of business. It’s difficult to say if Sabathia has confidence in Sabathia at Fenway right now.
The Yankees rotation is a mess, and if they can't get wins from CC, they can't get wins.
Yankees starters are 0-10 against Boston this year. Everyone talks about the Yankees rotation as CC and then nothing. So when Sabathia is as bad as he’s been against Boston, it stands to reason the rest wouldn’t pick up the slack.
The Yankees still don’t seem to have the arms to make a deep playoff run at the moment. It usually takes three starters to win, and the Yankees have one. And one that can't seem to beat their biggest rival.
Barring a hot streak by AJ Burnett, Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia, the Yankees will regret not going the extra step to get Ubaldo Jimenez, Hiroki Kuroda, or Wandy Rodgriguez at the deadline.
Ortiz is batting .306, with a 1.035 OPS, 4 HR, 10 RBI. Ortiz is a beast when playing the Yankees. He has a .305 average and .957 OPS in 609 at bats with 35 homers and 125 RBI.
But Papi’s career average is .282 and his career OPS is .921, proving he steps up his play when the Yankees are around. There is some question as to his contract situation, but the Red Sox would do well to keep him around, if for nothing else than to mash against their most important opponent.
With every dominating performance against New York, Ortiz asking price climbs. He could be one of the most unique free agent cases in baseball, as a DH of considerable age who has yet to show signs of serious regression.
Yankees have a .225 AVG against BOS. New York is second in runs and on base percentage and third in slugging. But against Boston, they cannot seem to make solid contact.
They will need their impact hitters to step up when the playoffs roll around, if they want to challenge Boston for the American League pennant. At some point, the guys making the big money need to do it in the big situations.
If there's one thing the Bronx Bombers have always been able to do, it is hit the ball. But against the Red Sox this season, even that seems to be a struggle. There is a lot of work to do before they meet in meaningful games in October.
Mariano Rivera is the best closer in baseball, and the best in the history of baseball, but he's no good if the other guys can't hold a lead. It's not just the rotation.
Yankees pitchers have a combined 5.98 ERA against Boston, no other opponent is that number over 4.65. We know the Yankees don’t have great pitching, but it has gotten worse against Boston. With Sabathia struggling, the rest of the team looks at a loss facing the daunting Boston lineup.
A team like Boston amplifies their opponents’ weaknesses, so when a team struggles to get outs against the average teams, they will get shellacked in Beantown.
The Sox are that good. First in runs (644), average (.281), on-base percentage (.353), slugging percentage (.457). They are as advertised.
The team is doing what it was supposed to do from the days Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez signed on the dotted line. The question is still going to be if they can do it in October. If the Yankees don’t sign some pitchers, I’d be hard pressed to see why not.
There is no doubt, Boston is still the team to beat in the American League, and would have to be the favorite to win the World Series if the season ended today.
These games mean more to Boston. Always trying to prove themselves, every game “must win.” Yankees know they will make the playoffs.
Boston is like the little brother who plays hard in a pickup game of football, they want to beat New York every single time. Meanwhile, the Yankees have been here before. They know they will likely make the playoffs, and once you’re in,nothing that happened during the year matters. So the hustle plays go Boston’s way... for now.
But New York should be aware of such an approach. Aggressive play can not simply be turned on or off. It is a habit, and they will get embarrassed by Boston in the playoffs if they wait until then to turn it on.