It ended with a tie, yet fans are more ecstatic now than ever before.
It’s been a long time since the Yankees have been in town – nearly three months, to be precise – and even longer since fans have actually been excited for a Yankees/Sox matchup. But, after Boston took its first glance at those New York pinstripes, it was clear that this series would be different. It felt like a series of the past — a series of tension, rivalry and intense competition — and everyone noticed.
Although the Red Sox now lead three games ahead in the American League East, the Yankees were the top AL East contenders just earlier this season. It was a tight race for that first-place position in the league between New York and Boston, and it was the first time in a long time that true sparks of hatred flew between the two fierce rivals.
But it’s not 2004 anymore.
The main story that sparked the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is dead. All the major characters of the “Curse of the Bambino” narrative have graduated, and with a 2013 World Series under Boston’s belt and a recent run in playoffs, the Sox are hardly an underdog team anymore. Gone are the days of Captain Jason Varitek throwing punches at Alex Rodriguez and fans booing traitor Johnny Damon. Instead, both teams are comprised of rookies who work hard and hustle. It’s time Boston puts this old narrative to bed and let these young guys create their own story. And that’s what they began to do this weekend.
With a weekend-long homestand and a Sunday doubleheader, Boston natives and New York enthusiasts flooded Yawkey Way with high hopes for an intense game. And disappointed they were not; after a 15-inning game Saturday night, David Price’s best start of the season and a Jackie Bradley Jr. catch in center field that will contend for Catch of the Year, the players’ competed with an unparalleled fire in their hearts. And the whole world noticed.
The Red Sox Bullpen: from struggles to strikes.
David Price (or more famously, “David over-Priced”) was a seven-year, $217 million-bullpen deal that fans continue to question every time the pitcher steps on the mound, especially when in comparison to other Boston pitchers like Chris Sale and Cy Young winner Rick Porcello. Fans have been begging left-handed Price to step up – and step up he did last night. After eight strike-outs in eight scoreless innings, fans finally began to think that, maybe, Price was worth it.
But a scoreless game didn’t come easily to Price. In fact, it was almost ruined by an Aaron Judge’s rocket that soared over Fenway. Even Price thought it was a homerun – until Jackie Bradley Jr. made a perfectly-timed catch, keeping the Yankees off the scoreboard.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) July 17, 2017
With help from Mookie Betts’ hot bat and newly-returned Brock Holt at third, the Sox maintained their 3-0 lead easily. Although the Sunday night win only split the series 2-2, it felt like a Sox win. Boston may have struggled, but they still persevered in the end. This proves something very important: if the Red Sox keep this fire lit, they’ll take the American League this fall. And New York had better watch out.