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Legends On Deck

Game of the Week: Red Sox vs. Yankees April 12th

GOW2

This week, in our new segment of “Game of the Week” at Legends on Deck, we will be focusing on the Red Sox vs. Yankees game on Sunday, April 12th. Most Red Sox/Yankees games don’t need much of an introduction, but this year both teams enter the 2015 season with many question marks. Today, we will look at a brief overview of both teams, then later in the week dive deeper into each subject.

Matchup

This week, we will be analyzing the first meeting between the Red Sox and the Yankees of the 2015 season. Quite possibly the most historic rivalry in sports, the Red Sox and Yankees have hated each other since they first met in 1901. Although the first 15+ years were dominated by the Red Sox, the Yankees are arguably the most historic and successful franchise in all of professional North American sports. The Yankees lead the regular season series 1,152–972–14 (.542).

Along with their heated regular season rivalry, the Red Sox and Yankees may have competed in the most historic playoff series of the 21st century. The two clubs have competed in the postseason for decades, but none has as much historical significance as ’04.   As most baseball-minded people know, in 2004, during the American League Championship Series, Boston was able to come back from a 3-0 series deficit and win the series, which marked the first comeback of its kind in Major League Baseball history.

Managers

Joe Girardi has been the manager of the Bronx Bombers since the start of the 2008 season. As the Yankees’ skipper, he has amassed a 648-486 (.571) record. Aside from the team capturing their unprecedented 27th World Series title, Girardi has been under scrutiny for his team’s mediocre performance. Although the Yankees continue to extend the former catcher, fans and media alike have questioned if he can truly create a dynasty in New York. Girardi’s expectations cannot be extremely high for his club, considering the team that New York is slated to roll out to start the 2015 season, but then again, its the Yankees.

John Farrell, who served as the Red Sox pitching coach from 2007 to 2010, was highly sought after by his former team after becoming the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011. After hiring, then firing, Bobby Valentine (yuck), Boston hired their former pitching coach in 2013 and he was an instant success. He led the team to an emotional World Series championship in 2013 with a group of guys that loved the game of baseball and played their butts off. However, following their triumphant World Series, the Red Sox finished in last place and Farrell has been under heat for some poor decision making.

Last Season…

For the Yankees, the 2013-2014 season was full of disappointment. After the acquisitions of power hitting catcher Brian McCann, lightning fast Jacoby Ellsbury (sigh), highly touted Japanese stud Masahiro Tanaka, and veteran All-Star Carlos Beltran, big things were expected from the Yankees. They finished with a disappointing record of 84-78 and missed the playoffs yet again. One bright note from the season was Derek Jeter‘s “Farewell Tour,” where he hit a walk-off single against the Baltimore Orioles in his final home game.

As for the Red Sox, they embraced disappointing in almost every aspect of the word. After capping off a magical World Series run in 2013, the Red Sox brought back almost the same squad and expected to continue their run of dominance. However, after a season full of underperformance and injuries, the Red Sox “blew it up” at the July 31st Trade Deadline. They went on to finish in the cellar of the American League East with an abysmal 71-91 record.

Key Additions/Subtractions for the Yankees

To be frank, the Yankees did a lot less than I was expecting out of them in regards to adding some pieces during the offseason. Aside from adding ex-Red Sox lefty Andrew Miller and the return of third basemen Alex Rodriguez from his PED suspension, New York did not add another big name to their roster. Some of their smaller pieces may pan out to be successful, like they always tend to, but there should be some concern in New York about the lack of intensity and desperation that should assimilate from a club that barely squeaked by .500. We all expected the Yankees to offer a $200 million contract to Max Scherzer or Jon Lester (Thank God I didn’t have to see Lester in pinstripes), but they never threw down the gauntlet. On the contrary, they lost their Captain, Derek Jeter, Gold Glove outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, and veteran starter Hiroki Kuroda, just to name a few.

Key Additions/Subtractions for the Red Sox 

I type this with tears in my eyes as I look at the front end of the rotation for Boston. Although they added stud third basemen Pablo Sandoval, power hitting Hanley Ramirez, and a plethora of solid pitchers (Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson), they missed out on my personal man crush, Jon Lester. It has been reported that Lester’ss decision was down to the Chicago Cubs and Boston and at the end of the day, Lester decided to reunite with Theo Epstein for the better part of peak years. The Red Sox have always been reluctant to give pitchers over 30-years-old fat contracts, and Lester was no different. Aside from Cuban power hitter Yoenis Cespedes, the Red Sox did not lose anyone of any real importance to their core future.

Top Prospect- New York Yankees

For the Yankees, their farm system looks to be pretty dry at the moment. However, they do have a young Dominican pitcher in Luis Severino that has some New Yorkers talking. The 21-year old right handed hurler has been in the Yankees organization since 2012 and features a powerful fastball and above-average changeup. He plowed through Class-A before ending his season with the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate. However, it would be surprising if we see him this season.

Top Prospect- Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox, on the other hand, have a goody bag full of young talent at all different levels. While some may consider Yoan Moncada, Eduardo Rodriguez, Mookie Betts (yes, he’s still considered a prospect), or Henry Owens as the Red Sox top prospect, Blake Swihart could potentially be up with the big league club before any of the aforementioned players, aside from Betts. Everyone knows of Mookie Betts’ success story, but Boston fans should be just as excited to see Blake Swihart dawn a Red Sox uni. After changing positions to become a catcher, Swihart has quickly gone through the ranks and is patiently waiting in Pawtucket, Boston’s Triple-A affiliate. The Red Sox were close to keeping Swihart in the majors, but felt that he needed to work on his game behind the plate before he was ready to call a big league game. He is a freak athlete and provides a Buster Posey-esque comparison. He has been amid trade speculations since the Cole Hamels-to-Boston train started, but, after the season-ending injury to Christian Vazquez, it looks like he will be sticking around in Boston for years to come.

Pete Packowski

Pete has lived in the Boston area his entire life. He grew up going to Fenway Park and watching the Red Sox. He is currently attending Boston University and is majoring in sports journalism. Once he graduates, he plans on entering the Army. He is also the owner of Biased Boston Sports, which covers the four major sports in the city. His main strength is current major league talent and highly regarded prospects. You can follow him @Pete_BBS