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In 2003, as Aaron Boone rounded the bases en route to delivering one of the more dramatic home runs in baseball history, fans thought, “the New York Yankee – Boston Red Sox rivalry cannot get any better than this."
We were wrong, though. A year later, the Sox became the first team in MLB history to overcome a three games to none deficit, taking the final four games in the 2004 ALCS.
Now though, the rivalry has hit the snooze button each season, waiting for something electric to happen. A glance at the two clubs' current situations indicates that the wait will continue in 2014.
Boston (36-43) came into Yankee Stadium Friday night to start a three-game weekend set against New York (40-37), according to CBS Sports. Each team is failing to live up to expectations. This is not the over-powering American League East our parents are used to.
The Yankees are currently 20th in runs scored (311) while the Red Sox are coming in at 25th (301), according to MLB.com.
The high-priced additions of Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran have not worked out so far. Beltran started off hot, but injuries have derailed his season, and he was bought purely for his clutch bat in the postseason.
McCann and Ellsbury just haven’t produced. The Yankees catcher is hitting a lowly .223 while Ellsbury is not providing the punch the team had hoped (four home runs). This is especially disappointing considering the Yankees right-field porch is tailor-made for Ellbury’s swing.
The idea of moving to a more speedy, defensive-minded, timely-hitting lineup is the plan that will show its positives in the postseason (along with dominant pitching). The loss of so many home-runs (Cano, Granderson and Swisher), creates a problem: the power needed for the long regular-season is suddenly gone.
While the Yankees problem has been “money gone wrong,” the Red Sox issue has been “development gone wrong.”
For Boston, major young stars have not stepped up to the plate and delivered like they hoped, Xander Bogaerts being the main culprit. Bogaerts is hitting only .256 after showing so much promise in the 2013 playoffs. With Will Middlebrooks and Jackie Bradley Jr. failing to show up, the Sox lineup looks like one of the worst in the AL.
Not only are the lineups a major problem (failing to spark interest in this rivalry), but Friday's starters were Vidal Nuno (5.88 ERA) and the immortal Brandon Workman (ninth career start). (The Sox lost 6-0.)
Aside from the amazing Masahiro Tanaka, there's little reason to watch Yanks–Sox these days.