BOSTON — The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry will always be special. No one is disputing that. But the hatred — for lack of a better word — that seemingly exists between the two organizations might not be as high as it used to be.
Red Sox manager John Farrell spent four years as Boston’s pitching coach from 2007 to 2010, before eventually finding his way back to Beantown after two seasons as the Toronto Blue Jays’ manager. Farrell said before Tuesday’s Red Sox-Yankees game at Fenway Park that he has noticed some changes to the historic Boston-New York rivalry in recent years, even if it still remains somewhat intense.
“The names have changed. I think both teams had more stability year over year (when I was pitching coach), or just longer tenured players on each side,” Farrell said. “There might have been tempers that flared because of a lot of history with one another a little bit more in those times. That’s not saying that wouldn’t take place now. But I think still at field level, it’s still the game. Guys are going out to compete, and yet it’s the stage that both teams play on that makes it as much of the rivalry as anything, and that’s — I don’t want to say just media-driven — but two successful franchises that are going at it with very good players.”
Even if the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has hit a dry spell — though last year’s Alex Rodriguez-Ryan Dempster antics seemed to briefly kick things up a notch — something changes when the two teams square off. While the players’ intensity might not elevate to crazy levels, each pitch seems to be magnified.
“I think the one main difference, because you’ve got two lineups that value the same thing, and that is lengthy at-bats, I think these series are very taxing on pitching,” Farrell said. “That, to me, is probably the thing that stands out the most.”
The Yankees have had the upper hand this season, winning four of the teams’ first five head-to-head matchups.