The Sox host the Bombers Sunday as the Yankees defend their championship, their first since the Red Sox rattled off a pair.
While the Red Sox rotation has achieved much renown, the Yankees aren't exactly chopped liver, countering with C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, Javier Vazquez, and Phil Hughes.
Here's a comparison with some key statistics, the least reproducible of which is win-loss record, so dependent on run support and bullpen support. One argument says that the Red Sox may have the slight edge at the top of the rotation and the Yankees at the bottom. Obviously, Javier Vazquez's numbers come from the NL, so they won't be as good in the AL.
The Yankees have studs at almost every position, with likely Hall-of-Famers at both hot corners in A-Rod and Teixeira, and shortstop Derek Jeter. Robinson Cano has great tools and put up big numbers including 25 homers, .320/.352/.520 compared to Pedroia's .296/.371/.447. Jorge Posada has a chance to be a Hall-of-Fame player as well as he is on the cusp of Cooperstown statistically. Curtis Granderson had 30 homers and 20 stolen bases in spacious Comerica Park, Brett Gardner had 26 stolen bases in limited duty last year, and Nick Swisher had 29 dingers and an .869 OPS for a championship team.
Last year the Yankees put up 915 runs, 244 home runs and led the league with an .836 OPS. To put that in perspective, only three current Sox, Youkilis, Drew, and Victor Martinez topped the Yankees' team average.
The Yankees' pitching was fourth overall in ERA and fifth in bullpen ERA. Maybe Mariano Rivera will start his decline...maybe we need to have him checked for bionic parts.
So the Sox have a formidable task. If the Yankees merely play to their career norms, they're going to be uber-tough. The Sox will have to play the Yankees extremely tough head-to-head if they're going to have a chance to win the division, and we shouldn't take the Rays 2009 performance as likely to be repeated.