For the first few weeks in April, fans in the Red Sox Nation feared that 2016 was shaping up to be a repeat of the last two seasons. Price gave up 8 runs to Tampa Bay, Clay Buchholz continued to struggle (and still does), strong leads were being blown in later innings, and Farrell’s job seemed on the line (probably still is). In the last week, though, fans are now seeing the Red Sox playing strongly, much like the team they were in 2013.
The Red Sox won four straight in the last week of April, highlighted by a multiple home run game for Dustin Pedrioa that included a grand slam off Pesky’s Pole. Only 1 game behind the Baltimore Orioles, the Red Sox find themselves within striking distance of taking first place in the American League East. While Thursday night’s loss to the Atlanta Braves was a small setback, the Red Sox should have no problem sweeping the New York Yankees, who are currently in last place, as the Red Sox go into May.
While it has lost much of its steam in recent years, the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees is still strong. The rivalry started in 1912 when the Red Sox beat New York, who back then were named the Highlanders, 7-6 in 11 innings when Fenway Park first opened. After Babe Ruth was sold to the Yankees in 1920, the Red Sox went without a World Series title for 86 years, which many attributed to the Ruth’s departure. Since then, the Yankees have broken the hearts of the Red Sox Nation multiple times, whether it was stealing a pennant in 1949, or Bucky Dent’s home run in the 1978 ALCS at Fenway. Since winning the World Series in 2004, the conflict between the two teams has died down somewhat, now that Yankee fans can’t hold The Curse of the Bambino above Sox fans’ heads anymore. Nevertheless, it’s always a thrill to be in the stands when the Yankees come to town because there’s almost as much drama in the seats as there is on the field.
While the Red Sox winning streak was snapped by Atlanta Thursday night, they’re still in second place. If we continue to see the Red Sox playing strongly going into May, then the team should snatch first place by the end of the first week of the month.
UPDATE: As of May 1st at 11:27pm, the Boston Red Sox have swept the New York Yankees and are now in first place in the American League East!