New York Yankees: Boston Red Sox

Sawx offense might improve before Yanks

September, 4, 2014
Brian McCann, Derek Jeter, Koji Uehara, Mike NapoliUSA TODAY Sports-AP PhotoThe Yankees and Red Sox have a long way to go. Who'll get there first?
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are going to finish ahead of the Red Sox this season, but it is unclear if they are better set up for the future. This especially might be true with their bats.

The Red Sox lineup on Wednesday night was littered with players 30 years old or younger, such as Brock Holt, Mookie Betts, Yoenis Cespedes and Allen Craig. When you mix in the recently signed Rusney Castillo and the still young Will Middlebrooks, Boston has a potentially strong lineup.


Which team's offense will improve first?


Discuss (Total votes: 1,903)

The Yankees are devoid of young, offensive talent. They do not have one sub-30-year-old player who is likely to make a big impact next year. Maybe Rob Refsnyder could be a major leaguer as a utility guy or a starting second baseman, but it's not clear how high the Yankees are on him.

Unless Brian Cashman -- who is a pretty good bet to return as GM -- can get very creative, the Yankees are a bit inflexible for next year. First base (Mark Teixeira), third base (Alex Rodriguez), outfield (Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, Carlos Beltran), catcher (Brian McCann) and utility guy (Martin Prado) are all accounted for. That leaves second base and short as the only two positions where, at the moment, the Yankees can upgrade in the offseason.

So either the Yankees' veterans will perform more like the back of their baseball cards, or Boston might have the offensive edge in the coming years.

Offense is down all over the game, but no more so than in the Bronx and Beantown. Whichever team can improve the fastest might be contending for the division the soonest.

Stephen Drew begins 'O-J-T' on Friday

August, 1, 2014
BOSTON -- Contrary to popular belief, Stephen Drew -- the career shortstop picked up by the Yankees from the Red Sox in exchange for Kelly Johnson on Thursday -- has played some second base.

"I played two months in 10th grade at second base on varsity," Drew said on Friday. "It was kind of ironic."

Or, at least, coincidental. Because for the next two months, Drew will be the Yankees' everyday second baseman as they attempt to sneak into the postseason spot after their final 55 games.

Yankees infield coach Mick Kelleher, whose responsibility it will be to help Drew become a second baseman, called Drew's new assignment "O-J-T" -- which is, of course, shorthand for "on-the-job training," something that is not normally done in Major League Baseball, and almost never by teams making a playoff push.

"There’s different throws, different angles, different breaks, different reads off the bat. Double plays, pivots, cuts and relays, shifts. All that stuff," said Kelleher, a former infielder who played 160 of his 622 big-league games at second base.

"He’s a really good shortstop, so I don’t anticipate him having too much problems," Kelleher said. "But I guarantee you’d sure like to get him on the field for a little practice."

Drew got precious little practice before his first game as a Yankee -- just a few grounders on the infield before Friday night's series opener at Fenway Park.

"I think just getting adjusted over there playing second, it’s going to be a challenge a little bit because I’ve been playing short my whole big-league career," Drew said. "I took pride in defense all my life, and being a really good shortstop I think for the past three years, top-rated there in fielding and everything else, it will be a challenge, but I don't think it will be an issue. I think I’ll be able to do it."

Drew, of course, missed more than a third of the season after entering free agency and failing to get an acceptable multi-year deal in the offseason. Since coming back in June, Drew has hit just .176 with a .583 OPS, but has performed better the past two weeks.

Although Drew said he would not have done anything differently, he did acknowledge that the layoff hurt him in his second go-round with the Red Sox.

“It does affect [you]. It’s not normal for a guy to come in, and these guys basically have three months of the year already going," he said. "I'm kind of just getting out of spring training."

Drew said he worked out extensively during his absence, although in a rather haphazard fashion.

"You don’t hit against big-league pitchers, obviously, so I was trying to make due with anything," he said. "High school pitchers, college pitchers if they had a chance. And that wasn’t every day. I had to try to find a mix of guys coming in, and were they able to throw to me? It might have been three times a week, four times a week.”

He also took between 80-100 grounders a day, seven days a week. But not one of them at second base.

He'll probably get his first one Friday night.
NEW YORK -- New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that he was fine with Boston Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli analyzing Yankees ace Masahiro Tanaka's ninth-inning pitch selection by exclaiming, "He threw me a fastball! What an idiot!"

Napoli made his comment after rounding the bases on what turned out to be the game-winner on a 1-2, two-out pitch. Since Napoli's thoughts were picked up on his way to the dugout by Fox's microphones, Girardi had less of a quibble.

[+] EnlargeMike Napoli
Anthony Gruppuso/USA TODAY SportsMike Napoli's reaction to Masahiro Tanaka's pitch selection in the ninth didn't upset Joe Girardi.
"I haven't seen anything in Mike Napoli that he is a guy that shows people up or he is a guy that degrades people," Girardi said Sunday. "I don't make too much of it. It is a heat-of-the-moment thing."

Red Sox manager John Farrell added, "I know we have the utmost respect for Tanaka and I know Mike Napoli does."

As for Tanaka shaking off Brian McCann and giving Napoli a bread-and-butter pitch instead of going with his best, the splitter, Girardi said he thinks too much is probably made over the one pitch, but he will eventually talk about it with Tanaka.

"This guy has been successful," Girardi said. "I think we might be making too much out of one pitch. If you score three runs, it really doesn't matter. If you win 3-2, you are going to say, 'Man, he pitched another great game.' It is what you are going to say. Since we lost it 2-1, the focus is on that one pitch.

"Believe me, we talk about things at length. I'm sure it is going to come up at some point."

CC coming to New York next: CC Sabathia (knee) will throw a bullpen session on Monday at Yankee Stadium.

"We'll take a look at it and decide where his next start is," Girardi said. "They talked about it being closer to here."

Sabathia next could pitch for Double-A Trenton, which is at home on Wednesday and Thursday. Barring any setbacks, Sabathia is expected to return to the majors at some point around the All-Star break.

Meanwhile, Michael Pineda (upper back) came through his game of catch fine.

Defending McCann: Brian McCann entered Sunday night hitting .224 with nine homers and 36 RBIs in 72 games.

"If you were to look at solely how our staff has done, his RBI totals and his home runs, you'd probably say he is having a pretty good year," Girardi said. "But when you look at that average, that is kind of glaring. I think people say, 'You know what he is not having the year he is capable of having.' I know he expects more from himself. Some of the important numbers he is doing a pretty good job at."

Beltran's stiff: After Carlos Beltran told the media he was still feeling pain in his elbow, Girardi went to talk with his DH. Beltran changed his story and now says he just has a little stiffness in right forearm.

"His elbow has not been a problem," Girardi said.

Beltran confirmed Girardi's version of events. The forearm stiffness was a result of throwing program that he had been on.

Girardi said that Beltran may start throwing again soon.

A-Rod trade revisited

April, 23, 2014
videoHave you missed Alex Rodriguez? Did you forget that he could have been a Red Sox instead of a Yankee? Well, above, you can relive all the fine details that brought him to the Bronx.

If you would prefer to see it on the big screen, ESPN will be airing a "30 for 30" "The Deal" after the Yankees-Red Sox game tonight.

Yankees faster than Red Sox

April, 18, 2014
The New York Yankees used to be the champions of the long games. But no longer, the title now belongs to the Boston Red Sox.

The Yankees are actually speeding up their games, making them, to borrow a phrase from a famous Yankee broadcaster, more manageable. The fine folks at FiveThirtyEight explain in more detail.

The New York Yankees haven’t dominated the majors since 2002, winning just one world championship over that period. But they’ve dominated MLB rankings for length of game. From 2002 to 2012, the Yankees’ average length of game was in the top four of the 30 major league teams each season, including five league-leading performances. Yet lately they’ve gotten faster: The average Yankees game has been shorter each year than the year before since 2009, culminating in last year’s 15th-place showing of three hours and five minutes — just half a minute longer than the league-average figure.

The slowest team in baseball is now — wait for it — the Boston Red Sox. New York’s archrivals have ranked in the top three in average game length each year since 2003. Last year, Boston’s fourth straight season as the slowest team in baseball, its average game took three hours and 15 minutes.

As much as we all like baseball, I don't think many will complain about the Yankees being a middle of the pack team in term of length of games.

Gomes takes a shot at A-Rod

January, 24, 2014
Alex Rodriguez, Jonny GomesGetty ImagesJonny Gomes criticized Alex Rodriguez's fight against the Major League Baseball Players Association.
Jonny Gomes has become the latest in a long line of Boston Red Sox to take a shot at Alex Rodriguez. Gomes was specifically mad about Rodriguez's lawsuit against Major League Baseball and, more importantly from Gomes' point of view, the Players Association.

"He does steroids or whatever, it sucks. He does this or that, it sucks. He's always in the news, it sucks," the Red Sox left fielder told the Boston Herald. "But this is the players' union he's going against. It's all of us. Not a real good idea."

In past years, players like Trot Nixon, Curt Schilling, Jason Varitek and more have taken swipes at A-Rod.

Gomes had already made noise by saying the Red Sox still have the belt and that it is about winning the summer, not the winter. On Friday, on Sirius/XM's MLB Network afternoon show with Jim Bowden and Casey Stern, Gomes said he wasn't talking trash.

"I said what I said," Gomes said. "I'm not trying to make anything or [say] it was taken out of context or all these riff raffs that people want to come up with. First of all, to have a rivalry, there has to be a villain. Why not pick the big guy with tattoos and a big beard or Mohawk and plays the game how he plays. Boom, let's pick that guy for the villain. That's pretty easy. But what did I say? I think the Yankees is one of the most professional organizations that you can get.

"It's not talking trash. It's just questions. Are they questions? Sure. I don't think I talk trash by any means. I don't talk trash. ... I think with 10 years in the big leagues it's a little late for a character check to Jonny Gomes and try and make me into the villain that I'm not."

Worst Yankees pitching vs. Sox ever

September, 16, 2013
How badly did the Red Sox batter the Yankees' pitchers this season? Well, the Yankees' ERA against Boston this year was the worst ever. The Yankees' ERA of 6.19 tops the 1959's staff's 6.17.

In recent years, the 2005 Yankees were beaten up for a 5.80 ERA. In 1988, it was 5.79 and in 1948, it was 5.63.

According to StatsPass, the Yankees allowed a .503 slugging percentage to the Red Sox this season, which is the highest since 1921. The Sox's batting average (.315) and OBP (.383) are the 2nd-highest since 1921.

(H/T to ESPN Stats & Info.)

Red Sox to honor Mo

September, 12, 2013
Mariano RiveraBob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsMariano Rivera will be honored during a pregame ceremony at Fenway Park on Sunday night.
Mariano Rivera has already received standing ovations in Fenway Park this season; now he is going to receive some gifts. Prior to Sunday night's game on ESPN, Rivera will be honored in a pregame ceremony before the scheduled 8 p.m. start.

It will be Rivera's final regular-season game at Fenway. There is always the postseason, of course.

Red Sox say Yanks Carped over signs

September, 12, 2013
Before Mike Carp of the Red Sox hit his big grand slam Wednesday that defeated the Tampa Rays and reduced their lead over the Yankees to just one game for the second wild card, he spent some time with our colleague Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston. Edes writes:

Red Sox first baseman Mike Carp knew all about the hoo-ha that erupted Monday night in Baltimore, after the Yankees accused Orioles third-base coach Bobby Dickerson of stealing signs, leading to a heated confrontation between Baltimore manager Buck Showalter and New York manager Joe Girardi.

"They did the same thing to me the day before," said Carp, who played first base for the Sox on Sunday afternoon in the Bronx, where the Sox lost 4-3 to the Yankees.

Carp could be seen barking back and forth with the Yankees' dugout early in the game, and he said Wednesday that they were accusing him of stealing signs.

"Pretty much their whole dugout," Carp said when asked who was making the accusation. "But it was their pitching coach [Larry Rothschild], I think, who came to the top step."

Carp laughed at the suggestion that he was guilty as charged.

"I'm not even an every-day player," he said. "I wasn't stealing signs. I couldn't take that from them."

Meanwhile, former Oriole Cal Ripken has chimed in on Girardi's accusations and came down on Baltimore's side.

“So it is a little ridiculous," said Ripken on his Sirius/XM's "Ripken Baseball" show. "It’s almost Little League-like that the first- and third-base coaches are actually in play. First of all, let’s analyze it. Are they giving location? Probably not unless the catcher is setting up really, really early. And does the hitter then peek at him at the end, because the catcher will move into that position? So, to me, location is unlikely. Sometimes the catcher spreads his legs too far and you can actually see the top of his hand or his signal-calling; maybe he is tipping those pitches and they want to try to communicate that to them. But it is very, very difficult and it’s highly unlikely, in my opinion, that the Orioles were doing it.”

Rapid Reaction: Red Sox 13, Yankees 9

September, 7, 2013

NEW YORK -- This is what happens when you start a left-handed journeyman against the mighty Boston Red Sox: you lose.

David Huff, making his first start as a New York Yankee after replacing the struggling Phil Hughes in the rotation, was tagged for nine runs on eight hits in just 3 1/3 innings in the Red Sox's 13-9 victory Saturday afternoon at the Stadium.

New York rallied from a 12-3 deficit to make it a three-run game, but Boston was able to close the door.

WHAT IT MEANS: Terrible Yankee pitching plus terrific Red Sox hitting equals three straight losses. With his bullpen in shambles, manager Joe Girardi was hoping for distance out of Huff, but he didn’t get it. Huff, who had allowed just two runs in his first 16 innings as a Yankee, gave up a two-run home run to Mike Napoli in the second inning and a three-run home run to Jonny Gomes in the third. Girardi will now have to figure out what he wants to do with his rotation in five days.

The Yankees didn’t lose any ground in the wild-card standings following their losses to the Red Sox on Thursday and Friday. The Tampa Bay Rays, who now have a 1 1/2 game lead for the second and final American League wild-card spot, play in Seattle at 9:10 p.m. ET.

NOT AGAIN: Derek Jeter left the game for a pinch runner in the sixth inning after hitting an RBI single. Jeter appeared to be limping as he walked back to the dugout. He may have gotten injured when he threw wide of first base in the top of the sixth. Jeter has already made three different comebacks due to injury this season.

STAT SO? The Red Sox are the first visiting team to score 12-plus runs in consecutive games in the same series against the Yankees since the 1907 Washington Senators, according to the Elias Sports Bureau via ESPN Stats & Information. It’s also the first time in AL history a team has scored eight or more runs in three straight home games and lost all three, according to STATS Inc.

DEBUTANT: Jim Miller became the franchise-record 54th player to put on the pinstripes for the Yankees this season. He pitched 1 1/3 innings and gave up three runs -- two on 20-year-old Xander Bogaerts’ first major league homer.

BEANTOWN BOMBERS: The Red Sox hit four homers on Saturday afternoon. Napoli went yard twice -- the second time he’s had a multihomer game in the Bronx this season.

BRETT THE HITMAN: Brett Gardner had two hits, three runs scored and two RBIs.

ICHI-WHOA: Ichiro Suzuki collided hard with the right-field wall after leaping to rob David Ortiz of an extra-base hit in the third inning. Suzuki remained in the game and received a nice hand from the crowd for his efforts. Suzuki also had two hits and an RBI.

OFF-ROD: Alex Rodriguez did not play because Girardi wanted to rest him with a day game after a night game. David Robertson, Boone Logan and Shawn Kelley were all unavailable due to injury, while Joba Chamberlain and Preston Claiborne were unavailable because they'd pitched the previous two days.

UP NEXT: The Yankees and Red Sox close out their four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Will it be time to bust out the brooms? It sets up to be a pitchers' duel with Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA) going against Jon Lester (13-8, 3.88). First pitch is slated for around 1:05 p.m.

Lineups: Red Sox vs. Yankees

September, 5, 2013
NEW YORK -- Here is the Yankees’ lineup that will face Red Sox right-hander Jake Peavy on Thursday night when the rivals begin a critical four-game series in the Bronx.

Brett Gardner CF
Derek Jeter SS
Robinson Cano 2B
Alfonso Soriano LF
Curtis Granderson DH
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Lyle Overbay 1B
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Chris Stewart C

Ivan Nova RHP

And the Red Sox ...

Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Shane Victorino RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
David Ortiz DH
Daniel Nava LF
Mike Napoli 1B
Stephen Drew SS
Ryan Lavarnway C
Will Middlebrooks 3B

Jake Peavy RHP

Wells on Sawx: 'We've got work to do'

August, 15, 2013
NEW YORK -- The Yankees are looking up at the Red Sox in the standings heading into this weekend’s three-game series at Fenway Park.

Fourth-place New York currently trails first-place Boston by nearly 10 games in the American League East.

"We've got some work to do," Vernon Wells said following his team’s 8-4 loss to the Los Angeles Angels at Yankee Stadium. "It's well-documented."

Vernon Wells
AP Photo/Kathy WillensVernon Wells and the Yankees are looking forward to battling the BoSox over the weekend.
The Yankees need to win 31 of their remaining 41 games to finish the season with 93 victories, the total manager Joe Girardi figures will get them the second wild-card spot in the AL.

Their margin for error is extremely slim, so the series at Fenway is one they can’t afford to lose.

"It's gonna be a big three-game series. Not [just] the fact that it's a Boston-Yankees series, but the fact that we can gain a lot of ground in the East," Curtis Granderson said. "It's very important for us, but we also have to be cautious [they can also separate themselves even more]. So we have to be ready starting tomorrow. I think the first one's going to be the most important."

The Yankees are 3-6 against the Red Sox this season, but Girardi believes they're a different team with the additions of a healthy Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and a healthy Granderson.

"I like our chances," Wells said.

It will be interesting to see the reception Rodriguez receives when he steps into the batter's box for his first at-bat Friday night. He's currently appealing a 211-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy and is expected to be showered with boos.

"I don't expect anything to be different [than normal]," Granderson said. "It's going to be loud like it always is. It's going to be fun like it always is. And I think everybody is looking forward to it."

Fun for Soriano, especially. The 37-year-old's last taste of Yankees-Red Sox came in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.

"It's been a long time. I’m happy to be back and happy to play with the Yankees and try to do my job," he said.

Soriano has 14 RBIs in his past three games. He had a season-high tying four hits Thursday.

"I feel comfortable at the plate, I'm seeing the ball good and I'm glad to have an opportunity like this and help the team win," Soriano said.

Standing O for Mo at Fenway

July, 20, 2013
Mariano Rivera Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY SportsMariano Rivera recorded his 35th career save at Fenway on Saturday.
BOSTON -- When Mariano Rivera trotted in from the bullpen, the Fenway crowd rose to its feet. The greatest closer of all time was coming out to shut down the Yankees' biggest rival and the Red Sox fans began to cheer.

Unlike All-Star night at Citi Field, when Rivera soaked it all in, he barely noticed it this time. He was training his thoughts on retiring the Red Sox, starting with David Ortiz.

For the the 57th time against the Red Sox, the 35th time at Fenway, the 31st time this season and the all-time most 639th time overall, Rivera converted the save for the Yankees' 5-2 win.

"I don't want to be rude, but I didn't pay attention," Rivera said of the ovation. "It has always been hard ballgames here. I respect the organization. I respect the fans. That's why I give it back. I play the game the way it should be played."

Others noticed, including the Yankees' manager.

"I think it is the class of the fans here," Joe Girardi said. "Even though there has been a lot of history between Mo and the Red Sox. A lot of times, he has been in games that are extremely important. I think they understand what Mo has done and what he has meant to the game."

Rivera said he has always loved to pitch here and the reaction from the Boston fans didn't surprise him.

"It is kind of like an appreciation," Rivera, 43, said. "It is great that they do that, that they acknowledge you and that you have been there for so many years."

Unlike on Tuesday at Citi, the rest of his teammates were behind him as he warmed up -- and they noticed, starting with his catcher.

"It is huge," Chris Stewart said. "It just shows the respect that not just baseball fans, not just Boston fans, people in general have for Mo. They know what he has accomplished throughout his career. He has been their rival for quite awhile. For them to go out of their way to salute him and tip their caps and say, 'We respect what you have done.' It is huge."

Andy must lead in Sox Showdown

July, 18, 2013
If Andy Pettitte wins Friday's start, it will be his 20th career win against the Red Sox. He is 19-10 with a 3.82 ERA in 40 games (38 starts) against Boston.

It is that Pettitte, the one who has shown up so many times before against the Red Sox, whom the Yankees need to show up at Fenway.

[+] EnlargeAndy Pettitte
Jim McIsaac/Getty ImagesAndy Pettitte takes the hill against the Red Sox to start the second half.
If the Yankees are going to make the playoffs, it is going to be because they continue to pitch well. And it starts Friday with Pettitte.

But while the overall starting pitching has been very good, Pettitte has been inconsistent. Pettitte rocketed out of the gates, going 3-0 with a 2.01 ERA in his first three starts. Since then, in 13 starts, Pettitte is 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA.

Joe Girardi still chose him to lead the way in this showdown series in Boston this weekend. It shows the manager's faith, because this might be the Yankees' last stand.

If the Yankees can sweep or take two of three games, they will give the second half some momentum. The division title is the prize to success in the playoffs, and the Yankees are six games back of the Red Sox. They are three games out in the wild-card chase, but if they were to claim one of those spots, sudden death would await them immediately after the season.

When trying to figure out the road map for the Yankees to leap over the three teams in front of them in the AL East standings, starting pitching tops the list. The lineup -- even if Derek Jeter returns Friday, Alex Rodriguez comes back Monday and Curtis Granderson joins by early next month -- is still not the intimidating 1-through-9 the Yankees usually trot out. So it comes back to the men on the mound.

The bullpen, led from the back by Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, has been lights-out.

But while the starters have been good overall, there is room for individual improvement. CC Sabathia (9-8, 4.07 ERA) must throw like an ace again. Phil Hughes (4-9, 4.57) could be more consistent. Pettitte has to be better than he has been the past two months.

Pettitte beat the Red Sox in the opening series of the season. He turned back the clock in early April in the Bronx, combining with Mariano Rivera for a 4-2 Yankees win. Pettitte allowed just one run in eight innings, and Rivera returned for the first time since his knee surgery, marking one of the highlights of the season thus far.

If there are going to be more memorable moments, it starts Friday night, when Pettitte will face some tough matchups. David Ortiz has a .955 OPS in 61 at-bats versus Pettitte. Jacoby Ellsbury and Jonny Gomes are hitting .320 or better versus Pettitte. But Pettitte has controlled Dustin Pedroia, limiting him to a .214 average in 42 at-bats.

Pettitte really seems to have relished his return, but if things continue to go south, you wonder if we are seeing the final days of his legendary career. He surely is not thinking about the end. He is thinking about starting a second-half comeback for himself and his team.

Yankees to display commemorative ribbon

April, 16, 2013
RibbonCourtesy of New York YankeesThe Yankee Stadium scoreboard will display this commemorative ribbon in at the end of the third inning.
After the third inning, the Yankees will play "Sweet Caroline" and have a moment of silence to honor Boston. On the scoreboard, they will display a commemorative ribbon.

Prior to the game, on an outside video board, the Yankees had their logo and the Red Sox' next to the words, "United We Stand."



Masahiro Tanaka
13 2.77 141 136
BAJ. Ellsbury .271
HRB. McCann 23
RBIB. McCann 75
RB. Gardner 87
OPSB. Gardner .749
ERAH. Kuroda 3.71
SOH. Kuroda 146