The rivalry between the Boston and Red Sox is known as one of the best, if not the best, rivalry in all of sports. Its safe to say the rivalry was at its peak during the years 2003-2009. Perhaps the most famous year of them all was 2004, when the Yankees blew a 3-0 lead in the ALCS and the Red Sox went on to win their first World Series in 86 years. The main reason these two teams hate each other so much is because for a while they were the two teams battling to reach the top of the American League East year in and year out. Throughout those six years the two teams met in the playoffs twice and the Red Sox took home two World Series trophies and the Yankees took home one. Here is how the two teams finished in their division from 2003 to 2009:
- 2003: 1) Yankees 2) Red Sox (clinched wild card)
- Yankee beat Red Sox 4-3 in ALCS
- 2004: 1) Yankees 2) Red Sox (clinched wild card)
- Red Sox Beat Yankees 4-3 in ALCS, Win World Series
- 2005: 1) Yankees 2) Red Sox (clinched wild card)
- 2006: 1) Yankees 3) Red Sox
- 2007: 1) Red Sox 2) Yankees (clinched wild card)
- Red Sox win World Series
- 2008: 2) Red Sox (clinched wild card) 3) Yankees
- 2009: 1) Yankees 2) Red Sox (clinched wild card)
- Yankees in World Series
The two teams haven’t met in the playoffs since 2004 and have not finished both 1st and 2nd since 2009. Also since 2009 it seems to be the case that whenever the Red Sox are in contention for the divisional title, the Yankees are not and vice versa. Since 2009 the Red Sox have only won the division twice (including 2016) and have not finished second place at all. They even finished in last place in 2015, 2014, and 2012. When they won the division in 2013 the Yankees finished in 3rd place. In 2016 the Yankees finished 4th. The Yankees have also won the division twice since 2009 and finished 2nd twice. When the Yankees won the division in 2011 the Red Sox finished 3rd. When they won in 2012 the Red Sox finished last. The point here being is that we haven’t seen these two teams fight for the top of their division in quite some time. However, with the resurgence of the Red Sox in 2016 and the Yankees being loaded with young talent, 2017 could maybe be the year.
The Red Sox are favored to win the division in 2017 behind one of the most powerful offenses in baseball. Their offense will be lead by Mookie Betts, Dustin Perdoia, Xander Bogarts, Hanley Ramirez, and Jackie Bradly Jr. On top of that they have David Price, Chris Sale, and the 2016 Cy-Young Rick Porcello leading their pitching rotation.
Even though the Yankees finished 4th in the division in 2016, they could very well give the Red Sox a run for their money in 2017. Their 4th place finished really does not describe how well the team played in 2016. They finished 84-78 and were only 5 games out from a wild card spot. Usually you would see a 4th place team somewhere below the .500 mark. The Yankees are also very well equipped with very young and talented young players such as Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, and Greg Bird. They also signed free agents Matt Holiday and Aroldis Chapman to add to their list of talent over the offseason.
The Yankees are full of potential for 2017 and if they live up to it, it could very well come down to them and the Red Sox to win the AL East. Hopefully we see some more of this in 2017.