Yankees/Red Sox is starting to look like an actual rivalry again, and it has me feeling like a little kid on Christmas. It’s the best rivalry in baseball, one of the best in sports, and the one that was a highlight of my childhood. It hasn’t been much of a rivalry at all the past five years or so, with at least one of the two teams seemingly having somewhat of a down year. But now, we’re looking at the top two teams in the AL East, both with cores of young stars looking to take the league by storm.
In the first two games these teams played this year, the Yankees won both at Fenway behind strong outings from Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino. They held the Sox to a combined one run and seven hits over 18 innings. While Severino has looked like an ace all year, the guy who is actually supposed to be the Yankees’ ace, Tanaka, has looked like anything but that. The guy has an ERA north of 6, and has given up 11 homers in his last 31 innings pitched. He takes the ball tonight against Drew Pomeranz. If Tanaka could have a strong start tonight and pick up the W, it would be a HUGE confidence boost for not only him, but his teammates as well. If the Yanks want to make a legitimate postseason push this year, Tanaka needs to be more like the guy we saw throw a shutout at Fenway instead of the one who got tagged for three homers and six runs in the first inning on Derek Jeter night.
As for the rest of the series, we’ll see CC Sabathia take on reigning AL Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello Wednesday, and Michael Pineda take on David Price in the series finale Thursday. I’m really excited to see how the Yankees fare in this series. These young guys (Judge, Sanchez, Hicks) haven’t battled for a division title yet, and even though it’s only June 6, every game counts against the Red Sox. The Red Sox have an impressive young core too, with the likes of Xander Bogaerts, Andrew Benintendi, and Mookie Betts, so I’m interested to see how they handle a game like this as well.
Speaking of Betts, ESPN would not shut up about how the handle of his bat is shaped different during the last series, and the company that makes his bats didn’t take it too kindly when I complained about it on Twitter.
Like congrats, you have one MLB player using your stupid bats. My baseball days are long gone, but I’d rather walk up to the plate with a tree branch than a freaking Axe Bat. Gotta love Twitter beef though.
We may not be back to the glory days of Jeter diving into the stands, A-Rod fighting Varitek or Manny being Manny, but this could be the first look at a great rivalry for years to come.
First pitch in the Bronx at 7:05 tonight, let’s hope Masahiro rises to the challenge.