Two of the most iconic words in all of sports keep the people of Boston in a perennial frenzy of support for their beloved baseball team. This weekend brings the Tampa Bay Rays to Bean town for a two-game series. The vaunted Yankees pay their first visit of the young season to the Red Sox home diamond on Monday night in yet another installment of one of the all-time greatest sports rivalries.
To the surprise of absolutely no one, New York made some major moves in the offseason, perhaps most notably the addition of superstar, Giancarlo Stanton, whose slugging power is almost cartoonish. His addition further bolstered an already unfair power lineup in the city that never sleeps.
In the early afternoon matchup with the Rays, Rick Porcello, 1-0 on the young season, looks to continue his effective pitching and improve to a personal 4-1 record against Tampa Bay. Sportsbooks odds show that Boston is currently favored in both of this weekend’s matchups with the Rays. The three game series with New York beginning Monday is a toss-up, as both team are expected to vie for the American League East division title.
When the pinstripes come to town, New York will field a vaunted lineup that has collectively managed to send 12 baseballs into orbit throughout the first seven games of the season. That was admittedly a little unclear: homeruns. These Yankees hit a lot of them, which is no surprise considering Stanton and 6’8 Aaron Judge are swinging for the fences in NY.
Still, though it’s early, the Red Sox have only one blemish on their record so far at 6-1. The Yankees, meanwhile, come in right at .500 with a 4-4 record.
Blame for the Yankees’ mediocre record through eight games seems to be falling squarely on the shoulders of the bullpen. Expected to be a strength of the team coming into the season, the relief arms for New York have been lackluster. It remains to be seen if this will be a real cause for concern going forward.
Every series featuring the Red Sox and Yankees is all but guaranteed to be electric, but this early season standoff will give a glimpse as to whether or not Boston can pose a legitimate threat to New York’s vaunted offensive lineup and challenge them in the American League East this season.
While it doesn’t affect the team immediately, Rex Sox top prospect, Michael Chavis, made the news when he was found to have been taking PEDs, and was doled out an 80-game suspension by Major League Baseball. This is critical for two big reasons: One, this makes him unavailable for a potential call-up to the big show for a bulk of this season. Two, it affects Boston’s ability to utilize the young star in trade.
If Porcello picks up where he left off and the the Red Sox can get to the Yankee bullpen early, the former might be the safer bet to take a series win in the first set of games against the arch rivals.