Mancuso: Fourteen Years Later Yankees-Red Sox

Luis Severino can hardly recall that 2004 ALCS series with the Yankees and Red Sox. Fourteen years later, he and the Yankees return to Boston for a best-of-five ALDS series to determine who goes to the ALCS.

The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees’ rivalry has returned with more significance. Wednesday night in the Bronx, everything went to plan for the Yankees and nothing went right for the Oakland Athletics.

All they had to do was get a few innings from Luis Severino, grab the early lead, and let the bullpen take over. So this 7-2 win in the AL Wild Card game has the Yankees riding with that momentum and this is what MLB was looking for.

Yankees and Red Sox, best three of five series in the AL Division Series. It’s Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium with vivid memories of October 2004, except these current Yankees are the new core of youngsters who can hardly remember that epic Yankees collapse of a 3-0 series lead. The Red Sox won the next four games and advanced to the World Series that they won.for the first time since 1918.

That “Curse of the Bambino” was over in Boston. This time the Yankees, with the momentum as a full unit, could be returning to the World Series for the first time since 2009.

They return to Boston as winners of the AL Wild Card game. The Red Sox won the AL East division by a good margin with the best record in baseball and had no concern of a “one and done.” After all, it is meant that you win the division to avoid this Wild Card game.

“I mean we know who the next opponent was and we know this is a one game thing ,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “And so you’re confident you can get it done but at the end of the day it’s still a win-or-go home, one game. So you just prepare as best you can and pour everything into this one and now we’ll obviously so focus on the Red Sox.”

The 49,620 at Yankee Stadium never sat down. They wanted the Red Sox. This Yankees team needed to get this done because now the stakes are higher against the Red Sox, and that all begins Friday night up at Fenway Park.

In this game, which was for all the marbles, Aaron Boone pushed the right buttons. His counterpart, Bob Melvin, will be criticized because the decisions coming out of the bullpen were obviously not the proper moves.  The bullpen game for the Oakland A’s became a nightmare in the Bronx.

Liam Hendriks’ one inning of work featured that first inning, two-run home run from Aaron Judge. That 2-0 deficit was a indication of what was to come. The Yankees were headed to a long awaited October clash with the Red Sox.

Melvin added, “Certainly when they score first in their ballpark it gives them all the momentum. We didn’t take them out of it early. It’s loud, Yankee Stadium, and sometimes it’s difficult to overcome Yankee Stadium.”

Friday night it will be loud at Fenway Park. How will this new core of young Yankees, including Giancarlo Stanton, who have never been in this postseason atmosphere, be able to handle the pressure of this five game series? Despite all the history and the rivalry, they were not concerned.

Of course they were not concerned about the pressure. It was minutes after the final out when the celebration started in the Yankees clubhouse, but come Friday night, this becomes a new season once again. It is the Yankees and Red Sox in October.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment a long time,” Dellin Betances said. “Last year I was a cheerleader, cheer leading my guys and thank God this year I was able to be a part of it.” Betances was able to keep Oakland from scoring and possibly taking the lead. He struck out AL home run leader Kris Davis with two on with a nasty cutter in the fifth inning.

These Red Sox are also young, but many have experienced post season pressure before. Many were also in their infancy stages of baseball when the Red Sox and Yankees played for something important in October.

Yes, it’s been a long time. Now it is here with the Yankees and Red Sox and the baseball world will be watching.

“I think at the time I didn’t even have TV,” Severino said. “I’m not even sure. But think I’ve been shown the highlights. It will be fun. Really fun.”

He won’t need a television because this will be the real thing when he takes the mound either for Game 3 at Yankee Stadium or a Game 4 if necessary.

Comment: [email protected]   Twittter@Ring786 Mancuso

About the Author

Rich Mancuso

Rich Mancuso is a regular contributor at NY Sports Day, covering countless New York Mets, Yankees, and MLB teams along with some of the greatest boxing matches over the years. He is an award winning sports journalist and previously worked for The Associated Press, New York Daily News, Gannett, and, in a career that spans almost 40 years.

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