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Devers And The Yankees-Red Sox First Meeting

Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

BRONX, NY — Yankees and Boston Red Sox, a historic and heated rivalry that has lost some of that intensity. At Yankee Stadium Friday night there was a buzz in the ballpark. This is the first of 13 Yankees-Red Sox this season in a balanced schedule when they once played 19.

“It was loud, you can tell from the get-go,” said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. “When I went on the field at 6:30 for a 7:05 game, when you see the people out there in right field waving, you know it’s going to be fun.”

Though this rivalry has lost something. Names have changed, the Yankees and Red Sox in mid June are not neck-and-neck in the AL East standings. Aaron Judge, the AL home run leader is on the injured list, the Red Sox are last in the division, 15 games off the pace from the Tampa Bay Rays.

Gerrit Cole – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

The Yankees, though, with their ace Gerrit Cole (7-1) sustained his first loss of the season. Again, Rafael Devers delivered the big blow off Cole, his seventh career home run off the Right-hander in the sixth inning into the left-field bullpen.

But the Yankees are still relevant, not saying the Red Sox are not. Over 46,000 at Yankee Stadium refuse to say this rivalry is no more. They were in their seats early, constantly were heard, and they remained with two outs in the 9th inning.

Kenley Jansen – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Anthony Volpe, the Yankees rookie drove a full count slider from Kenley Jansen that went deep and far down the left field line, not good enough though to give his team a come from behind win. Jansen got his 14th save in 17 chances.

“I knew it was hooking,” Volpe said. “I just wanted it to hit the pole or something. Playing for the first time in the rivalry following years of watching them in the stands.”

“I thought it was a really good at-bat.” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said about Volpe. “He just missed winning the game there down the line.I felt like the guys did a lot of things right tonight. We just couldn’t get that big hit in the end.”

The Red Sox got the first of a three game series, 3-2, and played under three hours, not the usual marathons that are typical of Yankees-Red Sox games in the Bronx or up in Boston at Fenway Park. Regardless, a well played ballgame and not that battle for first place.

Gone are Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts, former Red Sox who recently made this rivalry intense. The Red Sox in some ways are a team in transition, though still considered a step away as legitimate contenders in the Al East.

Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

However, Cora and the Red Sox have seen their last 13 games decided by three runs or fewer, including 5 one-run games. And each of the Yankees last six games and seven of their last eight have been decided by three runs or fewer.

“It was a good baseball game,” Cora said. “We pitched well. That’s always good. We played decent defense. It’s good to start the series like that. Now we have two shots to win the series.”

Devers (Sanchez, Dominican Republic) has been struggling. The home runs have been hard to find and the timely hits, but one of the cogs in the Red Sox lineup was encouraged after hitting the home run ball off Cole.

“It feels great,” he said through an interpreter after going 2-for-4, including a double. “That will help me a bit (home run) with my confidence and get my timing back. That’s one of the things that I’ve been trying to get. It’s a great boost of confidence and, hopefully, we keep it rolling tomorrow.”

Gerrit Cole – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

On the other hand, Cole is still trying to figure out how to prevent Devers from hitting that home run ball but in this so-called 2023 Yankees-Red Sox rivalry home runs in the Bronx and up at Fenway will be difficult to avoid.

“They paid him $300 million for a reason,” Cole said about Devers. “He’s a good player man, I haven’t come across any other player quite like him.”

Home runs have always been a part of this Yankees-Red Sox rivalry, the memorable one off the bat of Bucky Dent up at Fenway Park. October 2, 1978, a win that gave the Yankees their tie breaking win and the AL East title.

Devers has been a part of this recent rivalry, though not as intense as that day up in Boston or memorable ballgames of the 1970’s. And there was that Pedro Martínez shove that sent late Yankees coach Don Zimmer to the ground up in Fenway during the 2003 ALCS.

“Very exciting to play the first Yankees -Red sox rivalry the first time this year,” Devers said.“You can feel fans bringing electricity and emotions in the air. Nice to play the first game here.”

More exciting though when the Red Sox and Yankees are battling for first place in the division. Perhaps not this year, maybe next. Regardless the rivalry returned and a matter of time again when they battle for first place.

Rich Mancuso senior writer Twitter @Ring786 Facebook,com/Rich Mancuso

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Julio Pabón

    June 10, 2023 at 11:04 pm

    I agree rivalry not the same.

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