Yankees Can Put Dent Into Red Sox

By Rich Mancuso/ Sports Editor

Yankees=Red Sox and four games begin in the Bronx Thursday night. Indeed there is always that anticipation with the historic franchises in baseball but the tables have turned. For now, and with plenty of season left, the Yankees have first place.

Up in Boston, the defending World Series champions are not in a panic mode, though last year at this time the Red Sox had this commanding first place lead in the AL East and the Yankees were chasing them. So there has been a definite change from last year as the rivalry resumes.

The Yankees won the first two of 19 meetings of the teams in April. Then, it was seen, these Red Sox had issues with their starting rotation. Early in the season, these Red Sox did not have that potent offense that led baseball last season in route to their third championship this decade.

“It’s still Yankees-Red Sox and always a series that has interesting sidelines to it,” said William Coppola, a Bronx Chronicle contributing writer and associated with baseball almost 40 years.

And it is Yankees-Red Sox. Bucky Dent hitting an epic home run over the Green Monster in Fenway Park, the Pedro Martinez brawl and the late Don Zimmer, a Yankees coach, hitting the turf at Yankee Stadium.

Of course there was that epic Yankees collapse with a commanding 3-0 lead in the AL Championship Series of 2004, The Red Sox made history as the first team in MLB to overcome that deficit in a best four of seven series for a championship. And that intensified this rivalry, all to the point where one team continues their attempt to outdo the other,

Even with the injuries, 14 on the injured list, the Yankees have overcome the adversity. Their so-called “B” team has worked wonders for manager Aaron Boone. And the Yankees starting rotation, without CC Sabathia, James Paxton, and Luis Severino, all at different times, have not been together as a unit. But the reinforcements have pitched to an ERA of under 3.50 and that says a lot.

A 6-9 start for the Yankees is a memory. They are 30-10 in their last 40 games with a 7 1/2 game lead over the third place Red Sox. So the Yankees do have that opportunity to bury the Red Sox more with a four-game sweep or taking three of four.

Regardless, this is baseball and the long season. If the Yankees take that commanding lead over Boston, as Yogi Berra used to say, “It ain’t over til it’s over.” Need to remind everyone about 2004 and other late runs in the Dog Days of August and stretch of September.

Remember, the season is not over when these four games are complete. But it is Yankees-Red Sox in the Bronx and the stadium, not like the old one, will be rocking.

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