After another Yankees-Red Sox series came to a close Thursday night with Boston’s 5-4 win at Yankee Stadium, The Rivalry was folded up like a blanket and put in a drawer. Till they meet again, which will come on June 29 in the Bronx.
Really, all of these delicious regular-season matchups are but an appetizer for the entree we should all hope awaits us in October: another Yankees-Red Sox postseason series.
The last time they met in the playoffs, in 2004, lives on in Red Sox lore and Yankees infamy. Reversing the Curse came a year after Aaron Boone’s pennant-winning home run, and now Boone is the manager of the Yankees. Too bad Dave Roberts isn’t the manager of the Red Sox, but Alex Cora seems like a nice guy and a good rookie skipper.
There’s no more Pedro and Manny and Jeter and A-Rod, although Alex Rodriguez was at Thursday’s series finale along with his girlfriend, J.Lo.
Jason Varitek was there, too, and if he and A-Rod crossed paths, hopefully no one shoved a catcher’s mitt into the other’s face, as Varitek (now a Red Sox special adviser) did during a classic 2004 brawl at Fenway Park.
These Yankees and Red Sox already have started to make their own memories. It began at Fenway Park on April 11 when Joe Kelly and Tyler Austin sparked a bench-clearing brawl in a series in which Boston took two of three.
So it was pretty meaningful for the Bronx faithful when Aaron Judge got the go-ahead hit off Kelly on Tuesday. The Yankees won again on Wednesday with a comeback against closer Craig Kimbrel, who was brought in for a five-out save and instead got precisely zero outs before giving up a go-ahead two-run triple by Brett Gardner and a two-run homer into Monument Park by Judge.
It was, to borrow Boone’s phrase, “bedlam” in the Bronx.
On Thursday, the Red Sox took a 4-0 lead against CC Sabathia. Hanley Ramirez homered to lead off the fifth, and then the skies opened up and play was halted at 8:47 p.m. because of a thunderstorm. It resumed at 9:42.
The Yankees tied it — of course they did — with four in the seventh. All four runs scored with Kelly on the mound. Yankees fans in what was left of the sellout crowd of 46,899 were delighted.
But Boston went ahead in the eighth on J.D. Martinez’s leadoff homer off Dellin Betances. A sizable contingent of Red Sox rooters let their voices be heard.
The Yankees’ winning streak was snapped at eight games when Kimbrel retired the top of the order 1-2-3 in the ninth. The season series is 3-3. Both teams are 26-11. Such great theater.
There is so much talent on these teams. For the Yankees, there’s Judge and Stanton and Didi and Sanchez and more. The Red Sox have Mookie and Hanley and Xander and J.D. and more.
“That’s a good team,” Sabathia said. “They’ve got good players and they’re off to a good start. Deep lineup and some young guys. It should be a fun summer.”
After last year’s ALCS, another Yankees-Astros playoff matchup would be pretty exciting, too, if the recent four-game series at Minute Maid Park is any guide. The Yankees won three of those tight games as part of the incredible 17-1 run they brought into Thursday.
But it wouldn’t be Yankees-Red Sox. The Yankees and Red Sox have met three times in the ALCS: 1999, 2003 and 2004. The Yankees won in five games in 1999. Boone may have his job in part because of the celebrity that ensued from his extra-inning walk-off home run to send the Yankees to the 2003 World Series. The Red Sox got more than even in 2004, coming all the way back from a 3-0 ALCS deficit.
There’s no way a 2018 Yankees-Red Sox playoff series could top that, right? Let’s meet back in five months and find out.