This post first appeared on BaseballDigest.com
Tomorrow the Red Sox and Yankees will begin the first chapter of the 2009 season; it will be the 2033rd game played between these two franchises. Well, this number includes the years the Red Sox played as the Boston Americans and the years the Yankees played as the New York Highlanders and before that briefly as the Baltimore Orioles.
Thanks to the great website of baseball-reference.com, it’s possible to explore this long rivarly and make frivilous discoveries. In a rivalry that is now 108 years old, the Yankees lead in the all-time head-to-head record versus the Red Sox with 1108 wins to 924 losses. Even with the changing of the dynamic to the rivalry since the end of an 86 year World Series drought in 2004, the Red Sox haven’t won the overall regular season head-to-head series verus the Yankees since that 2004 season.
Even though the teams have played each other over two thousand times, it wasn’t until the 2005 season that the Red Sox scored seventeen runs versus the Yankees in a single game. Then, they did it again less than three months later! Seventeen seems like a high total, but the Yankees once scored twenty four runs in a single game versus the Red Sox in 1923. They scored nineteen runs in a game versus the Red Sox as recently as last September, and infamously in the 19-8 shellacking of the Red Sox in game three of the 2004 ALCS.
Even with the new unbalanced schedule which has these teams playing each other eighteen times a year, you have to go back to the 50’s to find the longest win streak of twelve straight by the Yankees over the Red Sox. You have to go back to 1912 to find the Red Sox longest streak, when they won seventeen straight over the Yankees. An interesting note, during the beginning of the rivalry the Red Sox and Yankees routinely faced each other over twenty times a year!
To kick off the 2009 series between the Red Sox and Yankees, both teams will have their young stud pitchers squaring off. Joba Chamberlain hasn’t lost a game versus the Red Sox, going 2-0 in six games with an ERA at 3.12. Joba faces off against the Cancer Beating, World Series Clinching, No Hitter Throwing future Ace of the Red Sox, Jon Lester. Lester has never earned a loss versus the Yankees, sporting a 2-0 record in four games with a 3.42 ERA. The hope is Lester continues his masterful ways, and the guess is we’ll see a fantastic matchup between two rising stars.
In the second game, 2008 workhorse A.J. Burnett faces Red Sox Ace Josh Beckett. Beckett’s career numbers versus the Yankees are not especially great, but his 2003 World Series dominance over the Yankees and his 3-1 record versus the Yankees in 2008 are reason enough to think he may have an edge over Burnett. That being said, A.J. Burnett has never been stuck with a loss versus the Red Sox, and has kept an career ERA versus Boston under 3.00. A battle between two dominant starters will be great baseball to wrap up April.
On Sunday, veteran Andy Pettitte faces fill-in starter Justin Masterson. Andy Pettitte has always been a dominating force, and Sunday probably won’t be any different. Justin Masterson is a rising star who is flying a little below the radar due to the hype of Clay Buchholz and the great start of a career by Jon Lester. It seems Sunday’s matchup will be the tough one to determine who has the edge.
We’ll see great baseball, and my prediction here is that the Red Sox will take two of three to wrap up the homestand.