The Red Sox beat the Yankees on Wednesday night [
The Red Sox are back in first place, and if their one-game edge is small, their psychological advantage over the Yankees figures to be enormous at this point because Boston has gone 7-0 against New York by winning in almost every fashion imaginable. Like snowflakes and batting stances, each loss might seem the same, but no two have been exactly alike. The Yankees have lost to the Red Sox in New York (twice) and Boston (five times). They've lost with
Statistically, the two teams remain very similar. Both are in the top five in the American League in batting average, OBP, slugging percentage, OPS, home runs, runs scored and stolen bases. But the Yankees rank 12th in the AL in ERA while Boston is fourth. But the all important psychological edge that the Yankees used to hold over the Red Sox, the thought that no matter what the standings or the scoreboard said that New York was the team to beat, now resides with Boston. Never has a one-game divisional divide felt quite so cavernous as it does now between these two superpowers that have always been defined by their proximity to one another. Over the past eight seasons, the two have played 152 times (postseason included) and the Red Sox hold a meager two-game advantage (77-75) over their archrivals from just a couple hundred miles away. They have finished 1-2 in the American League standings nine times in the past 11 seasons and are on pace to do so again this year, only this time, there can be no debating which is truly the better team.
"We've had chances to beat them," said Yankees manager
"They're doing a lot of little things to help them win and we're not," echoed Yankees first baseman
Those little things were on full display on Wednesday. In the first inning, a weak-armed
The night's starting pitchers offered one of the many examples of the growing chasm between the two teams. In Wakefield, who moved to 8-3 with a 4.50 ERA, the Red Sox have found a reliable 42-year-old to round out a rotation so overstuffed with quality arms that the Red Sox may be forced to trade a pitcher who's 5-2 on the season (brad Penny) just to make room for 1) a future Hall of Famer (
The Red Sox have thus far beaten all of those pitchers. Only
The playoffs may be a long way off, but it would seem the Red Sox are better equipped to succeed there as well. With a deep starting pitching staff and bullpen, playoff-tested veterans with recent postseason success and a deep bench to boot, the Red Sox have the edge over the Yankees in almost every area. The Sox have developed a core of homegrown players smartly and spent money wisely, but the Yankees have not been able to match them in either category over the past few seasons. In fact, with a top of the order multi-dimensional threat who mans an essential up-the-middle defensive position (
To the Yankees and their prideful fans, neither of whom take any joy in looking up at the Red Sox, it is an era that must seem very far away.