Credit: Bain News Service/Library of Congress
As the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox get set to begin the latest chapter in their long, intense rivalry, I thought I’d look back. The first official game pitting the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox occurred on April 14, 1913 at Fenway Park in Boston. The Yankees organization began play in the American League in 1901 but they were known as the Baltimore Orioles (no relation). After two years, the team ceased operations and was purchased by Frank Farrell and Bill Devery. The new owners moved the franchise to New York, and gave the team the nickname of the Highlanders. Although they would affectionately become known as the Yankees in subsequent years, the name was not officially changed until 1913.
Similarly, the Red Sox went through several name changes from the time of their inception (also in 1901). They were known as the Boston Red Stockings and the Boston Americans before the name was changed to the Red Sox following the 1907 season.
So, although the two organizations have duked it out since 1901, the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, by those names, didn’t officially begin until 1913.
Sadly, the Boston won the first Yankees-Red Sox game, 2-1, behind the four-hit pitching of Smoky Joe Wood. He struck out nine batters while pitching a complete game (but didn’t they all back then). The Yankees starter, Ray Caldwell, also went the distance, giving up eight hits and two runs. The Red Sox scored the winning two runs on a double by left fielder Duffy Lewis.
For the inaugural game, the Yankees lineup featured the following players:
- Bert Daniels, RF
- Harry Wolter, CF
- Roy Hartzell, 3B
- Birdie Cree, LF
- Hal Chase, 2B
- Dutch Sterrett, 1B
- Jeff Sweeney, C
- Ralph Young, SS
- Ray Caldwell, P
Of the names, Hal Chase is the one that stands out to me. “Prince Hal” was primarily a first baseman and is credited with being the first star of the Highlanders/Yankees. Babe Ruth considered him to be the best first baseman ever, but that was obviously before the days of Lou Gehrig. Despite his excellent reputation as a baseball player (he was a smooth fielder), his name was tied with corruption for alleged involvement in gambling on baseball games and suspicious play in order to throw games. Chase would be traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 1, 1913 for Babe Borton and Rollie Zeider.
It’s a sad tale in the long, storied history of the Yankees franchise. As late sportswriter Fred Lieb said in describing Chase, “What a waste of skill and artistry. He could think and move like a flash. Nature fitted him out to be a superstar. But alas! As Jim Price (then sports editor for The New York Press) told me in 1911, ‘He was born with a corkscrew brain’”. It’s unfortunate that Chase went down that path. He could have ensured a place in Cooperstown with his play, but his actions prevented entry to the Hall of Fame. He was remorseful in later years, but no one really knows how many games were lost because of his deceit.
New York would win the next day (April 15, 1913) against the Red Sox, 3-2, behind the pitching of Ray Keating for their first Yankees victory in the passionate rivalry.
The Yankees had entered the 1913 season as a team with promise. They were led by well known player/manager Frank Chance, but for various reasons and probably most importantly the games thrown by Chase, the Yankees finished seventh in the American League with a 57-94 record. They escaped the cellar by one game over the St Louis Browns. Chance would later manage the Red Sox for a single season in 1923.
If we go back to the first ever game between the two franchises, the Baltimore Orioles beat the Boston Americans, 10-6, on April 26, 1901. In 1901, Boston was a two-team city. The National League team was known as the Boston Beaneaters. I am sure that all of us have coined various nicknames on Boston over the years, but it would be hard to take any team seriously called the “Beaneaters”. I guess I wouldn’t want to follow them.
Since those early games, the Yankees have compiled a 1169-973 against the Red Sox. Their biggest victory occurred on June 19, 2000 when the Yankees pounded the Red Sox, 22-1 (scoring 16 runs in the final two innings, capped with a three run homer by Scott Brosius). Currently, the Yankees have a three game winning streak against the Red Sox, thanks to a three-game sweep late last September.
In the all-important category, the Yankees lead the Red Sox in World Series championships, 27-7.
For the three game series in Boston, the pitching match-ups will be:
- Today: Luis Severino (1-1) versus AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello (1-2)
- Wednesday: Masahiro Tanaka (2-1) versus Boston ace Chris Sale (1-1)
- Thursday: CC Sabathia (2-1) versus Drew Pomeranz (1-1)
The only ex-Yankee we will see this series is former Yankees fourth outfielder Chris Young. The former BoSox players on the Yankees roster are reliever Tommy Layne center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Austin Romine’s dad, Kevin, is a former Red Sox outfielder.
Of all the Yankees rivalries, there’s no doubt I enjoy Yankees-Red Sox the most. It’s funny… I hate them the most, yet I prefer them over the Baltimore Orioles (modern version), Toronto Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays. I’m sure that doesn’t make any sense. The Red Sox are a team that I love to hate, but my respect for the team and the organization has always been strong. When the Yankees win by beating good Red Sox teams, it makes winning that much sweeter. Somehow, when the Yankees are winning and the Red Sox are not, it’s just not the same. One of my favorite quotes is ‘to be the best, you have to beat the best’.
Have a great Tuesday! Let’s get this three game series started right! Sevy, dominate the night!
In life we do not always get what we want. I wanted to take the three game series in Pittsburgh but it was not meant to be. Former Yankees starter Ivan Nova set the tone from the start of Sunday’s game when he struck out the side in the first inning en route to Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory over the Yankees. The loss gave the series to the Pirates, 2 games to 1.
Give Nova credit, he pitched very well against his former club. He went seven strong innings, surrendering only four hits and one run. The one run came courtesy of a Jacoby Ellsbury home run in the seventh inning. For the season coming into the game, Nova had walked just three batters. He only walked one on Sunday but the batter was a guy who hadn’t picked up a bat since his high school days (Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery). For the game, Nova struck out seven, picking up his second win of the year.
The Yankees had their chances to win the game. They had a runner at third in the eighth with two outs, but Starlin Castro struck out. In the ninth, they loaded the bases but the game came down to light-hitting shortstop Pete Kozma, who had pinch run for Chris Carter the prior inning. After Aaron Hicks had struck out, Kozma came to bat with two outs, but grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game. It’s unfortunate that Hicks was not able to come through as it placed the game in the hands of a career .221 hitter.
Kudos to Jordan Montgomery. After the game, he admitted that he didn’t have his best stuff. Loading the bases in the first inning with no outs, he escaped with only one run across home plate. He would go on to pitch six innings, allowing only two runs. Pirates were able to get seven hits off him. He walked two batters while striking out five. The two walks proved costly as both batters eventually scored (the only runs the Pirates would score in the game). Montgomery’s ability to throw a “quality game” despite not having his pitches speaks volumes about the heart of this pitcher. I am anxious and excited for his next start.
Even though the Yankees lost the series to the Pirates, they were in all three games and could have won either of the losses. As the younger guys gain more Major League experience and assuming the veterans continue to hit, the Yankees will begin to win these types of games with greater frequency. The bench is going to look much stronger soon when Didi Gregorius returns and Ronald Torreyes retakes his utility role from Kozma.
Sadly, Greg Bird was not able to get untracked in Pittsburgh. His 0-for-3 day dropped his batting average to .104. I still think he is very close so hopefully Fenway Park will ignite his bat. If not, we’ll probably start to see a few more Chris Carter starts at sprinkled in at first in the coming days.
I am glad that we’re headed back to American League parks so that Matt Holliday can knock the rust off and resume his role as the team’s designated hitter. His offensive capability is too great to be limited to pinch-hitting in National League cities.
The Yankees have today off and will begin a three game series in Boston tomorrow against the Red Sox. The Red Sox are coming off a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday that kept the Yankees 1 1/2 games behind the O’s in the AL East. The Red Sox (11-8) are just a 1/2 game behind the Yankees (11-7). The Orioles play this evening (at home against the Tampa Bay Rays) so they could extend their AL East lead to two games. Or going the ‘glass is half full’ route, drop back to only a one game lead.
The Yankees have a chance to make a statement in Boston. While they may or may not win the series, they need to prove that they can hang with the Red Sox. Boston won the head-to-head battle in 2016, 11 games to 8. The Red Sox swept the first season series last year (April 29th to May 1st). It would be great if the Yankees could return the favor. My primary goal for the series is three competitive games with the Yankee hitters attacking the strong Boston rotation. If they can get to the Boston bullpen early, I really like their chances. The last run through the Yankees starting rotation was mostly a collection of off-nights so hopefully this run through the rotation will yield superior results. So begins the Battle of the AL East…
Have a great Monday! Rest up and be ready to take charge on Tuesday!
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
The Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox both won Thursday, so the Yankees find themselves a 1/2 game behind the O’s this morning. All three teams have ten wins, although the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox have four, five and six losses, respectively. Surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Rays have nine wins albeit with eight losses. The biggest surprise is the cellar dwelling Toronto Blue Jays at 3-12. It’s still very early with 147 games yet to be played for the Yankees but crucial games are on the horizon.
The AL East is the only division in baseball with at least four teams over .500 although just one game separates every team in the AL Central with just a single win needed to put the bottom of the division at .500. Again it’s early, but the AL East is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball at this point.
The next week will be a challenge for the new and improved Yankees. When they complete the current three game set in Pittsburgh, they’ll head to Boston for three games beginning on Tuesday. They are certain to face Red Sox ace Chris Sale who pitched yesterday and gave a performance that justified Boston’s decision to give up their best hitting and pitching prospects over the winter. Although he didn’t figure in the extra inning decision, he went eight innings, allowing no runs and four hits. Walking only one batter, he struck out thirteen. Unfortunately, he’s in prime shape for his next start.
After the Boston series, the Yankees return home to face the Baltimore Orioles. Not to look too far ahead, but these series are followed by the Toronto Blue Jays, the World Champion Chicago Cubs, and arguably baseball’s hottest team, the Houston Astros.
Next week’s schedule represents the most difficult stretch the young Yankees have faced this year so it will be interesting to see how they respond. The Red Sox and Orioles begin a three game series tonight so on the bright side, they can beat each other up before the Yankees face them.
I am hopeful that Greg Bird’s bat starts coming around before the team gets to Boston. Aaron Judge has the “wow” factor with his behemoth home runs in games (and batting practice) but Bird remains the team’s best hitter (potentially) even if the stats don’t show it yet. I remain convinced he’ll soon be raising eyebrows with his hitting prowess but it would be nice if his offensive show could begin sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s waiting for him at Fenway Park.
Based on stats, Chase Headley is arguably the current best hitter with a .396 batting average. He’s off to a great start and admittedly, I didn’t see this coming. We’ll see if it is sustainable, but for now, he’s a vital part of the lineup. I wish I felt as good about Jacoby Ellsbury. Even though he is hitting .302, has stolen four bases and has been Joe Girardi’s clean up hitter of choice in recent games, he just doesn’t do it for me. Too often, and this is a very generalized statement without digging into the actual stats, it seems like he is underperforming in critical situations. I really have to wonder if an outfield of Aaron Hicks-Brett Gardner-Aaron Judge is better than Gardner-Ellsbury-Judge. The way Hicks is hitting right now, it is. Gardner is hitting worse than Ellsbury but this probably gets into a debate about who do you trust more.
Being in Pittsburgh tonight means that Matt Holliday’s bat takes a seat on the bench with no DH. This probably puts even more pressure to get Hicks into the lineup, especially with the pitchers taking at-bat’s. Both Gardy and Bird need to start mixing in a few hits.
Have a wonderful Friday! Let’s make this two in a row tonight!
Thanks to a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles last night, the Yankees finally get back into the win column. Of course, it’s been so long, I had forgotten what “win” means. So, I looked it up in the dictionary:
1.be successful or victorious in (a contest or conflict).“the Mets have won four games in a row”
synonyms: take, be the victor in, be the winner of, come first in, take first prize in, triumph in, be successful in More
The definition references the Mets, so I guess this is just another loss…
What’s the plan?…
Well, it’s January 2015. The Yankees roster is slowly evolving. The latest addition/return was the surprise re-signing of Stephen Drew which certainly makes sense. While I still prefer to see Rob Refsnyder win the second base job outright, Drew certainly provides great insurance at both second base and shortstop. It’s no sure thing that Didi Gregorius will be successful and I’d prefer not to see Brendan Ryan as the only other choice, even if he is a slick fielder.
I am still concerned about the starting rotation. Reading CC Sabathia say the knee is fine is hardly a ringing endorsement that he’ll be the CC of old. I think best case he is a strong #3 in the rotation if he is able to come back healthy. His days as the team’s ace are over…in my opinion. The hope of the rotation lies with Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda. Obviously, there are health concerns with both pitchers. Even though Ivan Nova will return later in the year, I do not expect him to be back up to par until 2016. Nathan Eovaldi is the project. The Yankees apparently think they can turn him around and perhaps they can. It would be good to get him to the point that he is as reliable and consistent as Hiroki Kuroda was.
While I get why the Yankees will not pay $200 million for Max Scherzer, I wish they would make a play for James Shields. With a rotation containing so much uncertainty, the Yankees really need a dependable starter without question marks.
I have heard some rumblings that the Yankees now have the prospects to make a trade for Cole Hamels, but I am not sure that’s one I would pursue. I like prospects such as Aaron Judge and Luis Severino and want to see them succeed in pinstripes. It was tough when I was a kid and the Yankees were always trading youth for veterans. Doug Drabek, Jay Buhner, Fred McGriff, Al Leiter, J.T. Snow, Brad Ausmus. I know the list is much longer than this, but it was tough watching guys like that succeed elsewhere.
I don’t think that Cole Hamels would be the missing ingredient to suddenly make the Yankees the World Series favorites. So, if he is not the difference maker, then the Yankees shouldn’t raid the cupboards to bring him aboard. I’d rather see Hamels go to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The fear of course is that he’ll be calling Fenway Park home next season.
At this point, I still do not see the 2015 Yankees making the play-offs. I think the Baltimore Orioles will still be the team to beat. They suffered off-season losses, yes, but they’ll also be getting back Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters. The Toronto Blue Jays look to be the most improved team and they’ve been a team of potential for a few years. Boston will be stronger, and it’s best to never underestimate the Tampa Bay Rays even if Joe Maddon and Andrew Friedman are no longer calling the shots.
There’s still time for GM Brian Cashman to make the moves to propel the Yankees into contention but so much is riding on better seasons from Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, and Mark Teixeira. Of the group, McCann is the only one I feel is capable for turning it around. Beltran and Teixeira are in their decline years, and that slippery slope is steeper for some guys.
Hear the voice of the Bard!…
There’s a nice piece in Nick Cafardo’s column today (Sunday Baseball Notes in The Boston Globe) about the comeback of Daniel Bard. It would be good to see Bard successfully return to his position of bullpen relevance after years of struggle. Perhaps that’s a buy low signing the Yankees should pursue. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. There was a time when Bard was a Yankees draft pick although he never signed. Even if he goes back to Boston or another team, I truly hope that Bard is successful.
Short walk to the Hall…
Congratulations to the Hall of Fame inductees: John Smoltz, Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio, and Pedro Martinez. I think all of the selections were justified. It was sad that it was the final ballot appearance for Don Mattingly, but it was a given that he was not going to make it. Maybe he can take the Joe Torre route…great managerial success to go with a strong playing career…to gain access to the Hall.
25 years is long enough…
Put me in the group of people who want to see Pete Rose allowed to enter the Hall of Fame. He remains one of the best players I’ve been privileged to see play in my lifetime. This is not an endorsement of Pete the man and I feel what he did was wrong, however, Pete the player was one of the best players of all-time.
I am glad that this is the last full month without any baseball activity. Looking forward to the opening of spring training camps next month.
A week’s worth of crickets…
For excited as I was for the Baseball Winter Meetings, it was a very unfulfilling time for Yankees fans. The AL East got stronger as both the Boston Red Sox and Toronto Blue Jays made significant improvements, and the Baltimore Orioles, while they didn’t make a move, are still a better team on paper.
Losing David Robertson hurt. I fully recognize that not even the Yankees should be paying multiple guys in the pen $12+ million per year so I understand the decision to let Robertson walk after signing last year’s prized lefty Andrew Miller. Still, when I saw those words, “White Sox to sign David Robertson”, it was a painful sight to see.
USA Today Sports
Part of me, for a few days, imagined a bullpen with Robertson, Betances, and Miller for manager Joe Girardi and the limitless possibilities. After watching the Kansas City Royals and their stellar pen, it was hard not to dream of a similar equation for the Yankees. With so many question marks in the rotation, a ‘lights out’ bullpen is a must. With Robertson gone, there’s no reason why the Yankees still can’t have a superior bullpen. But losing Robertson does show that we care about our tenured players. Well, except when their name is Alex Rodriguez.
I am in favor of naming Dellin Betances as the team’s closer in spring training. I think Miller will be great as the primary setup guy and the earlier innings are in great hands with Adam Warren, Shawn Kelley and others. A year ago, there were questions about Robertson’s ability to close. His attempt to close in 2012 when Mariano Rivera got hurt was unsuccessful. The team ultimately went to Rafael Soriano who held the role for the duration of the season.
Mariano Rivera was an exception. Most guys are unable to pitch at the level required to close for an extended period of time. The days of Rivera and Trevor Hoffman are over. From a financial standpoint, it makes the most sense to have a shorter term view when it comes to a closer so that you don’t get locked into a bad contract (a la Jonathan Papelbon) as the closer ages and naturally deteriorates. Robertson may still be playing at a very high level in four years, but equally, there’s a chance that he is not. He always seems to pitch in and out of trouble, but as he ages, his ability to get out of those jams may not quite be there. He’ll evolve as a pitcher and I am sure that he’ll make the necessary adjustments, but at the end of the day, the Yankees are better off not being locked into Robertson for four years at $48 million. Betances showed that he is the team’s future closer. Next year may be a bit premature, but it was inevitable.
The most important thing for the Yankees is to now re-invest the $12 million per year savings into other areas. Bring back Chase Headley. Possibly sign a short term closing alternative like Jason Grilli. Make a run for Max Scherzer. But the key is to do something. The Yankees, as they presently stand, will not win in October.
How much? See ya…
Speaking of bad contracts, I was blown away by the commitment the Los Angeles Dodgers made to Brandon McCarthy. I thought McCarthy was a great pickup last season and hoped the Yankees could re-sign him to a team friendly deal. But like Robertson, I am glad the Yankees did not commit those years and dollars to McCarthy. He is a huge injury risk and in the Dodgers case, McCarthy failed last year in the NL West when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks. While I hope McCarthy has a great Dodgers career, my fear is that he and the team’s DL list will become good buddies. I hope I’m wrong but baseball generally proves ‘past performance equals future results’…
Slowly but surely…
The week preceding the Baseball Winter Meetings was good. The Yankees acquired their 2015 shortstop with the acquisition of Didi Gregorius and the aforementioned lefty artist Andrew Miller, dominant against both righties and lefties. It was a good start but the team obviously still has much work to do before spring.
I hear so many Yankees fans say that Gregorius is not Derek Jeter. Nothing against Jeter, but I’d rather see a 24 year old Gregorius starting at short over a 41 year old Jeter. Gregorius may not be the player Jeter was in his prime, but Jeter wasn’t in his prime anymore and the Yankees had to do something to improve following Jeter’s retirement. So, to me, Gregorius is his own man in the position. It is up to him to succeed or fail, without regard to Jeter. I was a huge Don Mattingly fan, but I gave Tino Martinez a chance from his first at-bat and his early struggles did not waver my support. Tino turned out to be one of my most beloved players over the years and I never compared him to Mattingly.
It is possible that Gregorius fails. If so, the Yankees move on to another option. ‘Nothing ventured, nothing gained’. But at this point in time, it is his time. Let’s give him a chance…
Paul Ruhter/Gazette Staff
All I want for Christmas is…
Now if we could just send A-Rod anyway. I know, it’s not that easy. The most expensive DH/bench player in baseball history. It’s too bad those dollars can’t be re-directed to a guy like Max Scherzer. Maybe some challenges are too much for even the Yankees to overcome. But I’d love to have the money the Yankees have probably spent trying to find a way.
How to build an 80-win team…
The Boston Red Sox have gotten stronger with the recent additions of Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval, and most likely, the re-signing of their former ace Jon Lester in the coming weeks. The Toronto Blue Jays quietly signed catcher Russell Martin (a significant upgrade over Dioner Navarro) and last night, pulled off a major trade for arguably one of the best third basemen in the game in Josh Donaldson of the Oakland A’s. The cost for Donaldson was Brett Lawrie and prospects. Given Lawrie’s inability to stay healthy, this trade provides further enhancement for a team that has held promise for a few years.
Lance Iversen, The Chronicle
Then there’s the Baltimore Orioles. They may not have made any big moves but they are still the AL East champs until proven otherwise.
I am not sure what’s going on with the Tampa Bay Rays. They will be losing a great potential manager in bench coach Dave Martinez when they finally name a replacement for Joe Maddon and the team no longer has the feeling of eternal optimism that it had when Maddon and former GM Andrew Friedman were running the show. So, we’ll leave them out of the equation.
So, clearly, the Blue Jays and Red Sox are determined to challenge the Orioles’ hold on the division championship. Meanwhile, in the Bronx, just crickets…
Last winter, the Yankees were quiet at the beginning of the off-season but then launched a flurry of signings in December that netted Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. It was a lot of money, but it still had the feeling the money could have been better spent. Of course, if the Yankees would have just paid Russell Martin a few years ago rather than allow him to leave as a free agent, the Yankees could have gotten him much cheaper than the deal they signed McCann to (or the one Martin ultimately signed with the Jays). Ellsbury is a known risk given his injury risk. He held up fairly well in his first season in pinstripes, and I like having him on the team. But the truth is the Yankees had a center fielder on the roster at the time in Brett Gardner and would have been better served going after a bat for left field. Beltran has been a great major leaguer but his age simply does not bode well for staying healthy.
Now, I could write major concerns with Ramirez and Sandoval, but the Red Sox are dealing from a position of strength and have loosened some major league players, combined with quality prospects, to make a major trade to further strengthen the team (such as a move for the Philadelphia Phillies ace Cole Hamels). The Yankees last year were just trying to fill holes.
I am surprised that the Yankees have not been linked in any way with star free agents Jon Lester and Max Scherzer. Clearly, either one would immediately enhance the Yankees’ chances in 2015. They need to find answers for other positions (third base, shortstop and the bullpen) but a high end rotation is a must for any team to succeed. As it stands, there are too many questions with Masahiro Tanaka’s elbow, Michael Pineda’s ability to stay healthy or if CC Sabathia is riding the major downslope of his career.
The Yankees need to sign either Scherzer or Lester, and retain the free agent trio of Brandon McCarthy, Chase Headley, and David Robertson. With this off-season of inactivity, it feels like the Yankees are going to lose out on all of the above. At least today, two days after Thanksgiving.
I remain hopeful that Rob Refsnyder wins the second base job in spring training. As for shortstop, the easiest solution is to re-sign Stephen Drew. It’s really too bad that the organization was unable to develop a high level shortstop prospect in time for Derek Jeter’s departure. Jorge Mateo looks like a strong possibility but he’s years away from being ready for the major league level. So, the Yankees are best served finding a short-term solution like Drew and hope for a bounce back year with a full training camp. I’d prefer that over a trade that could potentially cost what high level talent the Yankees do have in the upper levels of the minor league system.
If the Yankees do nothing, they’ll be battling the Rays for last place. If they merely try to fill holes with cheaper alternatives, they’ll still be cellar rats. Something has to give….soon.
I agree with Hal Steinbrenner when he says that you don’t need a $200 million payroll to win but the Yankees roster as currently constructed is not championship-caliber in my opinion. Too much risk and uncertainty, and players who’ve seen their better days. Alex Rodriguez is such a huge albatross and it’s a shame that he is now the “face” of the team.
Hopefully, Brian Cashman and the Steinbrenner boys have a plan in place that is driven for success and not merely a bean counter’s approach to fielding a team.
Time will tell, as it often does (as the saying goes)…