The Red Sox are the clear favorites in the AL East this season. Their position player core of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr, Xander Bogaerts and the rest is among the best in baseball. Their starting rotation is strong, currently projected to include some combination of Chris Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, Drew Pomeranz, Roenis Elias, and Steven Wright. PECOTA has them projected at 93 wins for the season.
We all know who the Yankees are. They will hope to right a strong bullpen, okay starting pitching, and a young righty-heavy lineup to a successful season. PECOTA's projection is currently at 84 wins, but it's easy to be optimistic while so many Yankees are having a great spring. Let's call it 86 wins.
Toronto, Baltimore, and Tampa are nice too. Let's pretend they don't exist today.
The Red Sox are probably a true talent 7 or so wins better than the Yankees. The Yankees and Red Sox play 19 games against each other this season, and 143 games against other teams. That means before the two teams play each other, we can expect the Yankees to win 76 games against those other teams, while the Red Sox win 82. If the Yankees go 13-7 in the season series, they would tie the Red Sox with 89 wins and hold the tie breaking advantage.
But if the Red Sox are 7 wins better than the Yankees, shouldn't it be difficult to win the season series 13-7? That's where the lefty-heavy Red Sox starting rotation and righty-heavy Yankee lineup come into play. The Yankees match up very well against five of the seven potential 2017 Red Sox starting pitchers. Gary Sanchez, Matt Holliday, Aaron Judge, and Greg Bird are going to love hitting in Fenway against that rotation. 13-7 is very reasonable.
Obviously, this is a bit of a long shot for the Yankees, but Spring Training is the time for hopes and dreams. As long as Greg Bird and Gary Sanchez are looking like Joey Votto and Mike Piazza, I'm cool with getting a little hopey. Let's go win this thing.