By: Noah Wright
John Wilcox/Boston Herald
It’s the greatest rivalry in all North American sports. The New York Yankees vs The Boston Red Sox. And that it’s no different this year. Right now, The Red Sox are a half game back of The Yankees for The East.Both teams have a handful of players that could be all-stars, and unlike some divisions, there is no clear winner. So between these 2 juggernaut teams, who wins?
To start, let’s look at each team’s starting 5. The Red Sox get the edge here, if you ask me. Chris Sale is as dominant as ever right now. He currently has a 2.56 ERA, .927 WHIP, and 2.48 FIP. Plus his 12.6 K/9 and 153 strikeouts lead The AL. David Price is having a nice year as well. His numbers would also look better, if it wasn’t for one start in where he gave up 7 earned runs in 3 and 2 thirds innings, and would make his ERA 3.23 instead of 3.81. After struggling last season, Rick Porcello has showed the control he showed in his 2016 Cy Young year. Their 4th pitcher, Eduardo Rodriguez is also having a nice season. Drew Pomeranz started out in the 5th spot, but was placed on The DL. Since then, knuckelballer Steven Wright and Hector Velazquez have filled that spot nicely (In the middle of writing this article, Steven Wright was placed on the 10-day DL). As for The Yankees, their rotation has been very inconsistent beyond young ace Luis Severino, and veteran CC Sabathia. Sonny Gray and Masahiro Tanaka have each had their fair share of struggles this season. Each have an ERA and FIP over 4. To add on to problems, Jordan Montgomery, who started the year on a good note, was forced to undergo TJ surgery. Since then, The Yankees have used patch work consisting of Jonathan Loaisiga and Domingo German. While Loaisiga has done well in his first 14 innings of the season, the same cannot be said about German, who has a 5.40 ERA, 4.21 FIP, and 1.232 WHIP.
Now let’s look at The Red Sox and Yankees bullpen arms. This was a tough one. Each team has one of the best closers in The MLB in Craig Kimbrel and Aroldis Chapman. They also have some shutdown set-up guys in Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes for The Red Sox, and Dellin Betances and David Robertson for The Yankees. However, I have to give the edge to The Yankees, because of their quality depth. While Chapman, Betances, and Robertson are the big 3 in the bullpen, they are not the only 3. Chad Green has had a very good season, and Adam Warren has done well since coming off The DL. After a slow start to the season, Betances and Robertson have done well in their last handful of games, with Betances having a .56 ERA in his last 15 games, and Robertson having a 2.40 ERA in his last 15. In his first full season with The Yankees, Jonathan Holder has done very well, and has a 1.84 ERA, 2.08 FIP, and .682 WHIP. With The Red Sox, past Kimbrel, Kelly, and Barnes, they do not have as much quality depth. Heath Hembree has had an ok year, but nothing amazing. The same can be said about long relief guy Brian Johnson. Carson Smith has also only played in 14 and a third innings, and has been injured for most of the year. With The Yankees’ bullpen depth, their starters do not have to go deep into games as often as some Red Sox pitchers might.
Similary has hard to give the edge to is their line-up. Each team has some very good sluggers. On The Red Sox, you have JD Martinez, Mitch Moreland, Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, and have Dustin Pedroia on The DL. However on The Yankees side, there’s Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Didi Gregorius, and slugging rookies Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar. Plus when he’s healthy, you can add Gary Sanchez to that list. Both also have guys who can play just about anywhere in Brock Holt and Eduardo Nunez on The Sox, and The Yankees having Ronald Torreyes on the 25-man roster, and Brandon Drury in the minors. It’s really a tie here, if you look at it. The Yankees may be #1 in home runs right now, but The Red Sox aren’t far behind and sit at the #3 spot. The Red Sox have the 2nd most RBI’s right now in The MLB, but The Yankees are #3, and both teams have similar team OPS’s (.787 Yankees, .780 Red Sox). However on the defensive side, The Yankees have the better overall defense. The Yankees have 7 DRS, as opposed to The Red Sox -29 DRS. The Yankees’ outfielders have also been a bit better at throwing runners out, with 15 outfielder assists, while The Sox’s outfielders have only had 14 outfielder assists. While their offenses may be very very good, I have to give the edge to The Yankees for better line-up.
So which team wins The AL East? As things are right now, I have to lean slightly towards The Yankees. The Yankees’ deep bullpen and roster gives them more utility. Plus with enough utility on the team, The Bronx Bombers can move their line-up and positions around to fit their needs. In the end, I think The Yankees take The East by 3 games at the most. However, I would not be surprised if The Red Sox won the division in the end. The Sox still have a team with a quality rotation, and enough sluggers that it wouldn’t be surprising if they outslugged The Yanks for the #1 spot.