Okay, I’ll be honest: I have been spending all year saying that the wildly inconsistent Red Sox’s ceiling would be a competitive loss in the AL Wild Card game. Well, here we are. I just don’t trust their ability to avoid making boneheaded plays at the worst possible time. The bullpen is also pretty unreliable, but I feel that’s also true for New York.
In any case, the Yankees are a more talented team than the Red Sox, who made the postseason mostly thanks to the fact that played well over their heads during the first half of the season. Boston has come down to Earth in the last few months and while I don’t expect the Yankees to make it easy on themselves, look for them to score the winning runs late. Yankees 7-5 Red Sox.
The Yankees/Red Sox rivalry
Okay, I guess we have to go into the history of the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox. There’s a lot going on here but at the root of it is this: Boston has always felt insecurity over being overshadowed by New York, leading to a natural rivalry between the two East Coast cities.
Meanwhile, the Yankees and Red Sox have been playing games against each other for well over a century now. Following Boston’s notorious trade of Babe Ruth to New York, the Yankees went on to become the winningest franchise in MLB history. The Red Sox then spent most of their history as being the sport’s most high-profile screwups. It took them 86 years to finally win a World Series after the Ruth trade, although they have been making up for lost time over the past two decades.
There’s a lot more to it than that, but thankfully I wrote about it in-depth the last time these two teams faced off in the postseason. Spoilers: that time it did not work out great for the Yankees.
Well, so much for all of Sunday’s promises of chaos. Baseball writers ran down a half-dozen potential outcomes following the last day of the regular season, a list which included potential postseason appearances from the likes of the Seattle Mariners and the Toronto Blue Jays and the intriguing possibility of multiple tie-breaking games. When the dust settled, however, the old standbys had survived while the potential playoff-crashers were heading home for the offseason.
So, in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals will be battling in their Wild Card game tomorrow. Meanwhile, tonight we have another installment of the Rivalry That Will Never Die as the New York Yankees will battle the Boston Red Sox, with the winners heading on to the ALDS.
It says something about their cultural ubiquity that it feels like that it’s this their millionth meeting between the Sox and the Yankees. Honestly, this is the first winner-take-all game between the two since the Curse-Reversing 2004 Red Sox beat them in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series. The last time the two teams played in a one-game playoff? That would be back in 1978 for the legendary Bucky F’ing Dent Game. So, today’s game will actually be a historical rarity.
If you’re expecting a crisp, well-played game between two reliably professional teams… well, you are most likely extremely out of luck. The Yankees have had streaks where they have looked utterly invincible and they also have a pitching staff that seems liable to implode at any second. Meanwhile, the Red Sox fielders have an alarming tendency to simply forget the basic fundamentals of the game at the worst time. Expect a sloppy, poorly-officiated game that will last at minimum four hours but will almost certainly provide plenty of entertainment.
After all, what else would you expect from these two teams, who seem incapable of playing a single, normal baseball game against each other? If you’d like to contribute to our live blog of what promises to be a truly wild Wild Card game, just send your commentary here either via email (to [email protected]) or using Twitter (send them to @HunterFelt).
It’s the Yankees and Red Sox, renewing their timeless rivalry once more at Fenway Park! The schedule says first pitch will be at 8:08 pm EST (we’ll see about that) but we’ll be back well before then to set the table.