Red Sox manager Alex Cora and Yankees manager Aaron Boone faced each other on the field for the first time May 1st 2001 (I may be wrong.. I had to dig for a while to find it..), when the Dodgers lost to the Reds 7-6, on a three for four performance by Boone including a home run off Eric Gagne, the beginning of history between them as they face off for the first time as managers in the post season. Cora was with the Dodgers in ’04 and Boone sat that season out, injured, so neither figured in the last post-season meeting between the Sox and Yanks. But they will figure tonight, along with the brilliant and impossibly thin figure of Chris Sale on the bump for the home team Boston Red Sox, and J.A. Happ getting the start for the visiting New York Yankees.
This year’s story was the Sox outscoring the Bombers 116 to 102 heads-up, and Boston winning 10 to the Yankees 9. Perhaps most important is that in the height of the race in August, the Sox swept the Yanks four games at Fenway 28-13 including winning the last game in extras, where after putting their proverbial foot down, and won 108 games, never having to look back. The Yankees knocked off the A’s in their play-in game, and managed to win 100 games in the reggalar, third place behind Boston and defending World Champion Houston’s 103 win tally. The Yanks also slugged the most home runs ever in a season (267), while Boston ran away with runs (876) (yanks were 2nd at 851) hits (1509) and doubles (355): +56 for hits on the Cubbies.. Talk about two awesome offenses.
Houston posted a major’s-best 3.3 RA/G, and it’s not even close. What is most remarkable, and you really should go look this up, is that they did it with only 22 pitchers for the season. The Sox and Yanks were both above league average, but think about that Houston rotation and pen. Twenty two pitchers for a whole season? With a staff ERA of 3.11?
Anyway, now it is on to the two best teams in the Beast with a combined 208 regular season wins facing off for the short race to three wins. Line-ups when I have them. It’s important enough to say it again: this the first post-season meeting between these two arch rivals since the epic series of 2004. Wasn’t that something to behold? Comment away.