Yankees vs. Red Sox: Why It's a Huge Deal This Time

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Yankees vs. Red Sox: Why It's a Huge Deal This Time

There's really only one thing more unbearable than a mouthy Yankees fan.

And that's a mouthy Sox fan.

Both sides have their rich heritage, their world championships, their star power—and when they meet, it all melts into a great big blob of venomous rivalry matched only in history by warring ninja factions and backwater family feuds.

Oh yeah, and it's about to get a whole lot worse. When they meet tomorrow night in Boston for the fifth and next-to-final series on the season, both sides will have plenty to talk about, and to make matters worse, both sides are separated by the thinnest of margins in the most important offensive stats.

There will be smack. Never mind that fact that the Sox cling to a series-catchable two-game lead in the AL East. This snapshot, taken this morning and including games up to Sunday night, drills down into a deeper layer, and shows exactly how similar these two teams are.

2011 Team Comparison

G AB H BA R EBH TB BB SO HR SLG OBP OPS
Boston Red Sox 133 4,663 1,303 .279 718 473 2,137 482 896 166 .458 .349 .808
New York Yankees 131 4,469 1,204 .269 719 431 2,038 509 894 186 .456 .349 .805

There are, of course, some obvious differences. Overall and per game, the Red Sox have more at bats, more hits and a higher batting average. But it isn't translating into more runs.

 

2011 MLB Team Leaders for Runs
R Team G AB H BA R
719 New York Yankees 131 4,469 1,204 .269 719
718 Boston Red Sox 133 4,663 1,303 .279 718
686 Texas Rangers 135 4,702 1,299 .276 686
627 Cincinnati Reds 133 4,611 1,196 .259 627
624 St. Louis Cardinals 134 4,575 1,236 .270 624
619 Colorado Rockies 134 4,571 1,182 .259 619
615 Toronto Blue Jays 133 4,577 1,150 .251 615
602 Detroit Tigers 133 4,532 1,228 .271 602
601 Milwaukee Brewers 135 4,532 1,185 .261 601
594 Arizona Diamondbacks 134 4,492 1,111 .247 594

It's not because the Yankees are routinely making more of each hit, the Sox also have moderately higher extra base hits and total bases. It's not because the Yankees are that much more efficient, the Yankees have just a few more walks and the Sox have only slightly more strikeouts.

2011 MLB Team Leaders for Extra Base Hits
EBH Team TB BB SO
473 Boston Red Sox 2,137 482 896
451 Texas Rangers 2,096 391 782
431 New York Yankees 2,038 509 894
415 Toronto Blue Jays 1,902 415 948
409 Arizona Diamondbacks 1,841 420 1,045
402 St. Louis Cardinals 1,922 457 816
402 Tampa Bay Rays 1,802 440 981
402 Colorado Rockies 1,886 474 966
394 Milwaukee Brewers 1,897 395 901
394 Kansas City Royals 1,875 390 834

What's happening is the Yankees are knocking the cover off the ball, with an impressive 0.0416 home runs per at-bat compared to 0.0356 for Boston. That's a 17% markup and easily the biggest difference between the two teams' offensive output. Yet that difference doesn't lift the Yanks above the Sox, it only cancels out the rest of the stats, resulting in almost a mirror image in slugging and on-base percentage.

2011 MLB Team Leaders for Home Runs
HR Team G AB SLG OBP OPS
186 New York Yankees 131 4,469 .456 .349 .805
166 Boston Red Sox 133 4,663 .458 .349 .808
160 Texas Rangers 135 4,702 .446 .334 .780
154 Toronto Blue Jays 133 4,577 .416 .316 .731
153 Baltimore Orioles 131 4,527 .412 .314 .726
153 Cincinnati Reds 133 4,611 .411 .330 .741
149 Atlanta Braves 133 4,548 .394 .311 .705
146 Arizona Diamondbacks 134 4,492 .410 .316 .726
146 Milwaukee Brewers 135 4,532 .419 .323 .742
135 Tampa Bay Rays 132 4,455 .404 .319 .724
135 Colorado Rockies 134 4,571 .413 .331 .744

With such a remarkable lack of difference between the two, these three games are huge, enormous, monstrous, gigantic.

So if you're a Yankees fan or a Sox fan, you're going to have a lot to talk about. If you live or work with one, then grab the Advil and take comfort in the fact that you won't have to go through this again until September 23rd, at which point the AL East should already have been decided.

Right?

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