When the Yankees eliminated the Oakland A's at 11:33 Wednesday night, a rush of emotions overcame Red Sox fans everywhere. Yankees fans didn't even wait that long as they started chanting, 'We Want Boston, We want Boston' in the sixth inning after their team took a 6-0 lead. They will now get what they want after the Yankees eliminated the A's 7-2 in the American League wild card game.
The opinions of Red Sox fans are a bit mixed toward their beloved Red Sox facing the Yankees in the playoffs. In a recent poll 58% of Red Sox fans said they would rather face the Oakland A's. You see there is this fear factor, fear that past failures to the Bronx Bombers will again rear their ugly heads. Red Sox fans have long memories and remember the heartbreaks of 2003 and 1978. Those concerns are legitimate this year because this edition of Yankees will be no pushover. Then there is the faction of Red Sox fans who live for the ultimate competition between the Red Sox and the Yankees. These fans focus more on the joy that 2004's incredible comeback brought. There was no playoff series that brought more satisfaction to Red Sox fans, so with that exhilaration as a possibility, bring it on.
While it may seem like these two rivals face each other in the playoffs frequently, the fact is that they have not met in the post season in 14 years, since 2004. Friday night at 7:32 the tradition continues, a tradition that many think is the greatest rivalry in all of sports.
The Red Sox will pitch Chris Sale in game one. Sale was simply baseball's best pitcher in the first half of the season, but pitched just 17 innings in the last two months while spending two stints on the disabled list. He pitched well against the Yankees this year, allowing just one run in 13 innings while striking out 17. The big question is how many innings can Sale pitch as he ended the season still trying to get back into shape. And maybe the bigger question is if the Red Sox bullpen can fill the gap after Sale exits the game to get to their highly touted closer Craig Kimbrel.
The Yankees will probably pitch J.A.Happ in game one. Happ has not lost a game in over two months as a Yankee. He faced the Red Sox four times this season, two as a member of the Yankees after being traded from Toronto. He struck out 29 in 22.2 innings with an ERA of 1.99.
Friday evening cannot get here soon enough for both teams and their respective fandoms who are unmatched in their loyalty and passion. This is exactly what both teams' fans wanted. This is what baseball wanted. And this is certainly what television executives wanted. Expect a roller coaster of emotions. This is as good it gets for baseball.
Source: Forbes | Mike Dowling | October 4, 2018