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Red Sox – Yankees weekend

by Matt Smith

Like most non Yankees/Red Sox fans, having “the greatest rivalry in sports” constantly being thrown in my face has made me somewhat immune to the “charms” of this contest to a certain extent. The prospect of five games in four days left me bracing myself for another barrage of media hype.

However, this time it’s slightly different. Thanks to the AL Central, there is a good chance that whoever misses out on the AL East crown is going to face an early season exit.

From a neutrals point of view, having the Yankees take the first two games in a day-night double header yesterday was probably the best thing that could happen. Much like the Cardinals earlier in the week, the Red Sox will be desperate to stop their rivals leaving Fenway with a series win under their belts. At the very worst Boston will want to take two of the next three. Coming back from an 0-2 start in series against the Yanks is tough, but the Red Sox have form in this respect as any Boston fan will gladly tell you (they don’t take much prompting either in my experience).

The Red Sox and Yankees have one more series this season in the Bronx following this weekend’s marathon meeting. It may be that results against their other divisional rivals make all the difference in the end. Judging by the last few days, the Red Sox can count on the support of the Orioles and the Blue Jays. Baltimore responded to a Boston sweep last weekend by taking two of three from the Yanks. The Blue Jays meanwhile bizarrely took pity on Boston’s current dearth of left-handed hitters and let them have Eric Hinske for next to nothing. Toronto’s winter spending spree sure looks a sad attempt to win the off-season right now.

(Incidentally, two other things stand out from the Hinske trade. Firstly, how come teams can acquire players despite the trading deadline passing on 31 July? Is it just a technical con trick like that used in the Championship where teams loan players after 1 September on the basis that they will then just buy them when the transfer window opens again? Secondly, isn’t it a bit strangely trusting of teams to agree to a deal when they don’t know which player they are going to get in return?)

Anyway, the next instalment kicks off at 18:20 GMT this evening and despite my normal ambivalence towards the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry, I will be tuning in via MLB.TV.

Final point of the day: is losing both games in a day-night doubleheader to the Yankees at Fenway more embarrassing for a Red Sox fan than losing a day-night doubleheader to the Royals is for an A’s fan like myself? Probably not, so there’s a crumb of comfort for the Red Sox Nation this morning.

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baseballgb August 20, 2006 - 10:45 am

Pitchers who can’t find the strike zone + that Yankees batting lineup = bad news for Boston.

Red Sox go 3-0 down in the series, and I hear the sound of Yankees fans reaching for their brooms! It was hardly a classic Randy Johnson outing but when you get 13 runs from your team mates it doesn’t really matter. Francona could only sit and watch as Beckett gave up 9 walks in 5.2 innings, knowing that his bullpen was spent after the exertions of the previous day. Meanwhile Johnny Damon seems to stick another dagger into the Red Sox front office with every at-bat at Fenway.

The big guns are out tonight, Mussina versus Schilling, live on FIVE with first pitch scheduled for 01:05.

baseballgb August 21, 2006 - 8:39 pm

Has the Red Sox’ season just fallen apart at Fenway? A 5-0 series drubbing to their bitter rivals puts them 6.5 games behind having spent most of the season looking down on New York. Now is not the time to hit a bad patch. Boston have had their injury problems, as have the Yankees. The difference is of course that the Yanks can still go out and pick up Bobby Abreu, eating his lucrative contract at the same time. Certainly has parallels with the way in which Chelsea can just keep spending, then spend some more for good measure. Not that Boston are exactly paupers mind you.

Now’s the time for the Red Sox to show what they are made of. The schedule gods have really set a challenge for them. A brief respite after five games in four days against the Yanks would be nice, but Boston don’t have that luxury. They head straight into a three-game series against the resurgent Angels and won’t get another day off until 7 September (two weeks on Thursday). Like anything, the Red Sox have to turn the situation on its head. No time to sit and stew on a hiding. They have a chance to get straight back to winning ways, and they have to take it.

The reality is that there is still a lot of baseball to be played this season. For all the hyperbole (including from myself!) this series hasn’t finished them; however suffering from any shellshock will.


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