Tonight will mark the beginning of the end of the regular season first half, and what better way to mark it than with another Yankees-Red Sox series. These 2 teams haven't seen each other in a while and they've both gone in very different directions since their last encounter. When the Yankees came to Boston for a weekend set to open May, they swept the Sox out of their own building and sent them below the .500 line for the first time on the year, where they have stayed ever since. With that backdrop, recent developments for both clubs, and the ever-tight AL East division race looming over everything, this series feels like it has a little more juice to it than recent Yanks-Sox series have had. At least to me it does. The Yankees have treaded water in the pool of mediocrity for the last 2 seasons while the Sox have bounced from the bottom of the division in 2012 to the top in 2013 and then back to the bottom last year. The last time these teams were both in serious playoff contention was 2011, and the last time a series between them had any sizzle since then was the infamous A-Rod-Dempster affair of 2013.
Now we come into this weekend with the Yanks at the top of the division by 3 games and getting healthier and the Sox coming in winners of 4 straight, 8 of 10, and 12 of 18. Boston has pulled themselves back within 6 games of the division lead and 5 of the Wild Card, and a series win against their biggest rivals would send them into the break with some serious good vibes. The Yanks taking 2 of 3 or even repeating their sweep of last time would do the same for them, and strike a blow to the momentum Boston has been building.
There's going to be a lot of eyes on tonight's pitching matchup between Clay Buchholz and Michael Pineda, and that' just the first of many potential fun storylines. You've got A-Rod, you've got Ortiz, you've got the Yanks facing top rookie Eduardo Rodriguez on Saturday, you've got Nova making another start, you've got young talent on both sides getting a better taste of what this rivalry is supposed to be like, and you've got 2 teams playing 3 games that really matter for both of them. I don't know about y'all, but I know I'm pretty excited for this series and that's the first time I've been able to say that about Yanks-Sox in a while.