With both teams positioned to make the postseason, the last few series between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have certainly carried a playoff feel. The success of these clubs has also rekindled fond memories of the intense Yankees-Red Sox rivalry of the early 2000’s.
Those face-offs gave birth to legends such as David Ortiz and Aaron Boone. Reloaded with young and exciting talent, the Yankees and Red Sox are set to take over the sport once again. So how do the players of this renewed rivalry compare to those of the old one?
Who is Derek Jeter?
Despite his struggles in the second half of the season, Aaron Judge is the obvious answer. Judge is the face of the Yankees and in addition to finding a great amount of success earlier in the year, has always carried himself in a professionally guarded manner. Judge is the big bat that makes the Yankees go. If New York is to beat out Boston in the coming years, Judge will need to continue as a force to be reckoned with.
Who is Pedro Martinez?
Chris Sale is the definitive ace of the Red Sox and thus provides another easy comparison. And like Pedro, Sale has had difficulty beating the Yankees. Sale is 1-3 against the Bronx Bombers and 17-4 against all other competition. Certainly, a lack of run support has helped write this narrative as Sale carries a 2.12 ERA against New York, but it’s still an interesting statistic to note. Sale will now get the opportunity to pitch in the postseason, something the southpaw was unable to do during his time with the Chicago White Sox. Like Martinez, this is where Sale must etch his place in Boston history.
Who is Mariano Rivera?
This was supposed to be Aroldis Chapman. But given the flamethrower’s recent struggles, Dellin Betances is granted this comparison. Betances owns a 2.11 ERA on the year, even better than his 2.15 career average. He is a dominating presence on the mound and could emerge as a household name in the postseason the same way Andrew Miller did a year ago for the Cleveland Indians. Like Rivera, the thought of Betances entering the game is a scary one for opposing offenses.
Who is David Ortiz?
It’s tough (and dangerous) to compare a 20 year old to the most important Boston baseball player since Ted Williams, but Rafael Devers is forcing us to do so. After all, Devers already has a legendary moment against the Yankees, a game tying home run off Aroldis Chapman in the bottom of the ninth inning. The Red Sox were hesitant to bring up Devers due to his age, but the kid has shown poise and maturation beyond his years. Devers is batting .315/.378/.629 with 8 home runs and 16 RBI’s in only 23 games. It’s unfair to expect Devers to continue this type of production, but he has proven that he will be a perennial All-Star in Beantown. Even though he can’t legally purchase alcohol in the United States, Devers’ smooth lefty stroke and clutch ability land him a comparison to one of the game’s greats.
Who is Alex Rodriguez?
With prodigious elite talent and a lack of fear for the spotlight, Gary Sanchez is the closest thing this Yankees team has to A-Rod. Much like Devers and Judge, Sanchez has been able to showcase his skills at a young age. Along with Judge, Sanchez provides a much needed thump to the Yankees everyday lineup. The duo are obviously 1A and 1B for the team, and in New York that can provide a player with a lot of recognition.
Who is Manny Ramirez?
The free flowing hair and terrific hitting ability makes it easy to compare Ramirez to Andrew Benintendi, one of the game’s brightest young stars. Benintendi is tabbed by some to come from behind and win the American League Rookie of the Year award from Aaron Judge- and even if he doesn’t, he has shown great prowess at the plate. Benintendi is another young player who has made the most of his opportunity to play at this level. He comprises one third of a Red Sox outfield that is considered by most to be the best in all of baseball. If Benintendi can continue his success, it’s likely the comparisons to Ramirez will continue.
Who is Mike Mussina?
A player who has had success in another uniform and is now eager to prove his worth in the bright lights of New York? That would be Sonny Gray, the pitcher whom the Yankees acquired prior to the trade deadline from the Oakland Athletics. Gray will inherit the role of the de facto ace of the Yankees and must pitch well in order for New York to make any noise come playoff time. Under control for a few years following 2017, Gray will be a key piece in the renewed Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.