By popular demand as a follow-up to my study of how the Yankees have fared at Fenway Park since 2003, I've decided to explore what the Yankees have done vs. the Red Sox at home since 2003, and then we'll calculate all the totals to find out how the team has done on the whole.
Ah, 2009. As we all know, the Yankees started the year 0-8 vs. Boston, but boy did the team ever turn things around in their sparkling second half, sweeping the Sox in both home series they played and ending the year with a 7-2 record against the Sox at new Yankee Stadium.
As I've previously written, that August series was easily the most exhilarating four-game stretch of the 2009 regular season, and even those last three games in September were extremely memorable, highlighted by another excellent Sabathia start vs. Boston at home as well as a seventh straight home win that clinched the division. All in all I'd say the first year in the new home was quite satisfying vs. the Red Sox.
In 2008, the Yankees went 4-5 at home vs. the Red Sox. I was out of town for the July 4 series, so I don't have strong memories of that set, although I do remember meeting up with Scott at Flannery's for the August 27 game, which at that point represented the Yankees' last realistic hope of reinserting themselves in the playoff picture, and boy did they fail pretty spectacularly.
The Yankees asserted themselves admirably in 2007, going 6-3 against the Sox at home, including a no-one-saw-that-coming victory by none other than Kei Igawa early in the season.
The 2006 Yankees went 4-6 at home vs. the Red Sox. The June 6 game was of course Melky's legendary theft of a Manny Ramirez game-tying home run, and basically the only cool thing the Melk Man ever did while in pinstripes. I am embarrassed to admit that I have almost no memory of the fact that the teams apparently played two straight day-night doubleheaders to close out the season series. The Yanks were so far up on the Sox at that point in the season that I guess I just wasn't paying as close attention as I normally would.
2005 was the last time the Yankees kicked off a season against the Red Sox, and I remember watching that Sunday night game with my dad and my buddy Dave (before he disappointingly moved to D.C.) and being giddy at the Big Unit's pinstripe debut. I remember Jeter's walk-off in the second game of the year, and then desperately trying to follow the third game while at work using Gamecast and thinking something must be broken as Gamecast delivered the news of Red Sox after Red Sox seemingly getting hit after hit off Mariano. I don't think I've had to follow a Yankee-Sox game on Gamecast since then, thankfully, as that was an excruciating way to experience a lead being blown.
I also remember that horrendous May series, as I was listening to Carl Pavano getting punished in the Saturday game on the radio while driving down to a friend's beach house in Manasquan, NJ, and of course the following night Dave and I reconvened at his place only to watch in horror as Cookie Monster took Mussina deep twice.
And I also vividly recall the September 11 game -- a game which the Yankees had to win -- and fortunately pulled one out behind another spectacular performance from Big Unit. While many were frustrated by Randy Johnson's tenure as a Yankee, it's easy to forget he went 5-0 against Boston in 2005 (and 7-1 in his two-year stint in the Bronx), with perhaps no victory bigger than that last one.
The Yankees went 5-4 against Boston at Yankee Stadium in 2005, and as you can see I pretty much lived and died with all nine of those games.
In 2004, the Yankees also went 5-4 vs. the Sox in the Bronx, although they started the year by getting swept at home. In usual Yankee fashion, they picked things up as the year progressed, returning the sweeping favor to the Sox during an absurdly memorable set at the end of June capped by Derek Jeter's courageous/idiotic dive into the stands for a foul ball. I was at the now-defunct American Spirits on the Upper East Side for that game, and, fueled by countless games of Beirut, was drunkenly cheering my ass off like a stereotypical jerk Yankee fan. While I'd like to think I've matured some since then, beer and Yankee-Red Sox games are still a fairly toxic combination for me.
The team closed the year out by picking up two huge wins and giving themselves a little breathing room in what had become a tightly contested divisional race that September.
And in 2003 the team split 10 games at home with the Sox. This was an interesting season -- as I mentioned yesterday, 2003 was the year that really renewed the rivalry, and the game that truly announced to me that the Red Sox were a force not to be reckoned with was the July 4 game that my dad took me to. I had just graduated from college that summer, and though I of course still followed baseball while away at school, my fanaticism had gone somewhat into hibernation during the previous four years, what with not being able to watch the Yankees play every day.
The July 4 game was a huge eye-opener, as I had always previously disregarded the Red Sox as a mostly nonthreatening annoyance -- for as much as they were our rivals, they just weren't as good as the Yankees, and so it was hard to take Boston seriously. That all changed on a sweltering Friday afternoon, as David Ortiz -- who I had previously never heard of -- walloped two of Boston's seven home runs that day, and I was left thinking (a) who on earth is David Ortiz and why didn't the Yankees sign him? and (b) holy crap, the Red Sox are finally good, and possibly even better than the Yankees.
The Yankees have split 8 ALCS home games with the Red Sox since 2003, including one of the most memorable in Yankee history, and one of the worst.
And so the Yankees are 36-29 against Boston at home in the regular season since 2003, and 67-63 all told against the Red Sox during the last seven seasons. I think this is probably about what one would expect.
As far as this Sunday night goes, the Yankees are 3-4 in their first game of the year against the Red Sox since 2003, although they did win when they last opened the season against Boston in 2005, albeit at home.
They are also 7-20 vs. Boston in April (3-13 at Fenway), so again, the odds are not exactly in our favor for an Opening Night win, but maybe it's finally time to defy expectations.