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|
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|
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|
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|
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.