There must be something in the water at Yankee Stadium. Either that or an internal memo is going around asking high-ranking members of New York’s organization to reiterate the Bronx Bombers are not a rung below the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox.

The Red Sox had a historic season in 2018, winning a franchise-record 108 games before rolling over everyone in the postseason, including the Yankees, en route to a world championship.

Despite all the evidence to the contrary, Yankees president Randy Levine believes New York is “as good as the Red Sox,” claiming the ALDS “could have gone either way.”

And manager Aaron Boone feels the same way as he told reporters Tuesday at Major League Baseball’s winter meetings that his ballclub is right there with the 108-win Red Sox.

“Obviously, they were an unbelievable team this year — a monster,” Boone said, via SNY. “But we also understand that we feel like we’re very much on level ground with them. You know, we’ve obviously got areas that we need to improve to kind of close that gap, but we feel like when we’re at our best we’re as good as anyone.”

What’s Boone supposed to say? That the Yankees have a lot of work to do to catch their hated rival?

While we understand where Boone is coming from there’s little for him to hang his hat on. New York put up little resistance against the Red Sox in the American League Division Series, losing in four games while being outscored 20-4 in Games 3 and 4 at Yankee Stadium.

The 2018 Yankees were expected to be an unstoppable offensive juggernaut, but New York’s “home run or die” lineup was no match for Boston’s stable of arms in October. While the Red Sox almost assuredly will take a step back in 2019, the Yankees will need to find another quality starting pitcher and a way to make their lineup less of a feast or famine operation than it was last season if they want to overtake Boston atop the AL East.

Thumbnail photo via Daniel Clark/USA TODAY Sports Images