The Yankees remain undefeated against the Red Sox in 2020.
A free square is a spot on the Bingo card that you get to mark before the game begins. It’s an automatic point that gives you a head start toward lining up enough of those spots to win the game. The Boston Red Sox have been a free square for the New York Yankees this season.
The Red Sox spoiled another impressive start from Martin Perez, who held the powerful Yankees lineup in check over six shutout innings only for the bullpen to blow a 4-0 lead. The new extra-innings rules did Boston’s bullpen no favors – the free square who started each extra inning at second base came around to score in both the 11th and 12th innings – but it’s the four runs surrendered by Red Sox relievers in the sixth-ninth innings that sums up this one-sided rivalry.
The Yankees are now 8-0 against the Red Sox this season and they’ve won 16 of the last 17 games between them dating back to last year. These were once two proud behemoths battling for supremacy of the AL East. This year, the rivalry has been more like David versus Goliath, only if David’s slingshot was broken and had to be replaced by a cheap knock off from the dollar store.
New York may appear to be world-beaters when they face the Red Sox but they are mere mortals against everyone else. The Yankees sit in second place in the division at 30-21, 3.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays and with a .588 winning percentage that ranks fourth in the American League.
Take those eight games against the Red Sox away and the Yankees fall to 22-21. New York is a juggernaut against Boston but barely above average against everyone else. Their .511 winning percentage against the rest of the league would put them only fractions of a point ahead of the third-place Toronto Blue Jays and fighting for their playoff lives.
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Fortunately for the Yankees, the Red Sox have been on their schedule eight times with two more to follow this weekend. They’ve been able to pad their win total against Boston to create the mirage that they aren’t a flawed team that would probably be sitting at home this October if it weren’t for this year’s expanded playoff format.
If the Red Sox lose either of these next two games, they will clinch the worst single-season winning percentage against the Yankees in franchise history. The 1927 team currently holds that distinction for going 4-18 (.182). The best Boston could hope for is 2-8 (.200) this year.
The sliver lining to this disaster is that every loss suffered by the Red Sox increases their odds of securing a higher selection in next year’s draft. If ever there was a year to tank, it’s this 60-game sprint when they have the excuse of the Mookie Betts trade and a pair of injuries that crippled their rotation.
That puts Red Sox fans in an uncomfortable position. Piling up losses is what’s best for the team’s future but on the other hand, playing the spoiler role against the Yankees brings a certain joy to brighten an otherwise gloomy season.
Boston has yet to embrace the opportunity to spoil New York’s chances of moving up in the standings. The Red Sox have been nothing but a pushover in this matchup, an easy win that the Yankees can practically check off on the schedule prior to first pitch. The season series isn’t over yet but the Red Sox only have a couple more chances to change that narrative.