A lot of people say the rivalry is dead. It’s not the same as it used to be. The two teams haven’t been going down each others throats as often lately.
In 2017, both teams are playing strong baseball. As of writing this, the Boston Red Sox hold a three game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East, with the Yankees holding a two game lead for the first wild card spot. Is the rivalry back?
Both of these teams have relatively new looks, even from just a couple of seasons ago. Chris Sale has been the sure fire Cy Young winner to date, and Yankees rookie Aaron Judge has been the rookie of the year. Mookie Betts is a perennial All-Star, while Gary Sanchez is one of the most exciting offensive catchers the game has to offer. With a series ahead this coming weekend, one has to wonder.
Who has the edge?
Catcher: Vazquez / Leon vs. Sanchez:
For a catcher to hit .280 through 66 games is impressive. Usually catchers are mostly in the lineup for the defense, but Christian Vazquez is having a fine season as the primary Red Sox catcher. But he’s not doing what Gary Sanchez is doing. Gary is providing his team with runs. So far, he has seventeen home runs on the season, third amongst all catchers in the majors. But the catchers in front of him have played in twenty-two more games. Sanchez is the best power hitting catcher the game has to offer.
Infield: Moreland, Pedroia*, Devers, Nunez, Bogaerts vs. Carter, Castro*, Frazier, Headley, Torreyes, Gregorious:
Chris Carter is only even on the Yankees because of injuries. It’d be an insult to any major league regular to say he is better. Moreland is no exception. He gets on base well above Carter’s rate, and doesn’t strike out nearly as often despite leading the Red Sox in strikeouts. Each team is currently without their all-star caliber second basemen. Todd Frazier hasn’t been a star at the hot corner, while Devers has wowed the masses in his limited time in the majors. Bogaerts is hitting a very respectable .280, but Didi is blowing that season out of the water. Nunez has been playing top notch baseball this season, while Headley has caused the Yanks to make trades to try replacing him. There is a lot of talent in both of these infields, but one team has the edge.
Edge: Red Sox
Outfield: Betts, Benintendi, Bradley vs. Judge, Ellsbury, Gardiner, Frazier
The win, dance, repeat crew offers a lot to be excited about. The three youngsters are three guys all capable of playing center field. We don’t really analyze defense, but defensively you could make the case that they have the best outfield in the game. On the offensive side of the ball, they have a lot of potential. JBJ isn’t a superstar with the bat, but Mookie provides some of the best at bats in the big leagues. Benintendi hasn’t been great, but the potential is there.
It means a lot more though when a young player taps into that potential. Aaron Judge has been amazing, taking the nation’s largest city by storm. It might partially be due to a short porch, but Gardiner is having a tremendous year with nineteen homers. Jacoby has turned into somewhat of a scrub since his days in Boston, however, I am a big fan of Clint Frazier’s. I think when all is said and done he can be a very special player. He swings his bat so quickly. If Betts was hitting the way he was in the first half, if Benintendi was hitting like the rookie of the year he was expected to be, there might be a conversation here.
Starting Pitchers: Sale, Price*, Porcello, Rodriguez, Pomeranz, Fister vs. Tanaka, Severino, Gray, Garcia, Montegomery, Sabathia
The Red Sox rotation is really strong. When you have enough rotation depth to consider not including last year’s Cy Young winner in Rick Porcello in your four-man postseason rotation, that says a lot. Chris Sale’s stat line causes me to drop my jaw almost every time he takes the mound. Strikeout after strikeout is recorded, and he doesn’t give up a ton of runs. Since that incident with Farrell, Pomeranz has been really good, I have a lot of faith in Rodriguez to put together solid numbers if he’s healthy. David Price was a very reliable pitcher before returning to the disabled list.
Tanaka hasn’t been overly impressive this year. The only thing that has been entertaining about watching Tanaka has been reading Mike Parente’s twitter roasting Tanaka after every start. Severino has more than made up for him though. His ERA currently rests below three runs per game, finally living up to that top prospect hype. Sonny Gray is a welcomed addition to the team, bringing his ERA down two full runs from last season before being traded to the Bronx. Combined, these teams would be able to put up one of the best rotations in the game. They are two separate pitching staffs though, and I think one is better.
Edge: Red Sox
Bullpen: Kimbrel, Kelly, Reed, Barnes vs. Chapman, Betances, Robertson, Warren
If we were to name the top relief pitchers in all of baseball, Kimbrel and Chapman both would appear near the top of the list, Two elite guys who for the most part know how to get batters out. How fast does Chapman throw? Yeah. Joe Kelly has been a star this season, and Betances has been a reliable bullpen arm for a while now. The Yankees have three arms capable of closing games. I do think Betances gets too much heat for his poor performances, and I think the Red Sox bullpen is a lot better than it gets credit for. But one of these pens is a little stronger.
Overall, I think each of these teams are phenomenal. Both of them have a chance to contend for the world series not just for this season, but for the next few. They each have a strong core of you
ng players, who should re-spark the rivalry into one that will once again become the best in all of sports. As for my opinion of who is better?
You’ll have to tune into Psycho Sports Mondays at 6:30 to find out!
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