Saturday, August 17, 2013


The Yankees are back in Boston this weekend, and a number of things are different from when they were last there (July 19-21). And some of the data that we presented when we wrote about the historical Yankees-Red Sox Fenway rivalry has been subject to further review.

We present an update and a correction/clarification.

First--and foremost--the Yankees have the dreaded A-Rod back with them, apparently for the balance of the season. His fate will likely wind up in arbitration, and possibly beyond--we can only hope that the revelations behind BS's 'roids witch-hunt will fully surface and come back to bite the cheese-king in his pock-marked posterior (and, please: don't ask us how we know this...).

A bit distracted by the prodigal's return, the Yanks dropped three to the White Sox, but they have found their hitting shoes after what had been a long and fruitless search and have won six of their last eight, including a 10-3 series opener at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox have been giving ground for the last week, and they still have to contend with the ghoulishness of their most recent Septembers. It's been a nice comeback thus far, but there are no sure bets.

We reported that the struggle for supremacy in Fenway between these two teams had gotten all knotted up as a result of the Sox' victory back on July 21. Upon further review, that information is not accurate--we were including pre-Fenway games between the teams in 1901-1911. And it turns out that the two teams played games at Braves Field during the years 1929-32 and thus the Fenway count had to be adjusted downward a bit.

After last night's Yankee win, the Bombers still hold a 465-463 lead against the Sox in Fenway Park. So Boston can square up their long battle against the Yankees in Fenway by winning the next two games.

We've charted (above) the ebb and flow of that "battle for Fenway" (telescoping the chart to 1916 so as to reign in the data range), which shows the cumulative WPCT for the Red Sox at the Fen over that time, as well as the running ten-year WPCTs. It turns out that the 70s and early 80s were the "golden age" for Sox fans to enjoy their team taking it to New York at Fenway. (The Sox were 53-32 against the Yankees at Fenway from 1970-79.) It's been something of a roller-coaster ride ever since, with the Sox getting over .500 at home vs. the Arch Enemy for a brief point in time, but then falling back again in recent years (they are 13-18 thus far in the 2010s).

The Yankee-Red Sox matchups in '13 were backloaded--they have nine more games against each other this year, and five more in Fenway. Lots of possibilities for mayhem are still in play...

[UPDATE: The Sox got the drop on the Yankees' best starter (Hiroki Kuroda) and cruised to a 6-1 win behind comeback kid John Lackey. The Yanks' lead in Fenway is back down to the absolute minimun at 465-464.]

[FURTHER UPDATE: In the midst of more media frenzy related to the lingering bad blood between the Yankees and their controversy-soaked prodigal, A-Rod has a homer amongst three hits and the Bombers cuff around lefty Felix Doubront, beating the Sox, 9-6.

Two quick thoughts: 1) teams should not throw lefties at the Yanks if they can possibly avoid it, as this squad has proven to be notably feeble against righties this season; 2) the Sox will need to sweep their final 2013 home series with the Bombers in order to take possession of the historical lead in the "battle of Fenway." (Current standing: NYY 466, BOS 464.)]