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Thursday night at Fenway Park, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox rekindle their historic rivalry with the first of four games in Boston. This series marks the first time these two AL East rivals have met in Fenway Park since last year's AL Wild Card Game, when the Red Sox sent the Yankees home for the winter.

"It'll be an electric atmosphere,'' Yankees ace Gerrit Cole told the New York Post about returning to Fenway Park for the first time since that Wild Card Game loss.

Both clubs enter this series in postseason position, though the Yankees have baseball's best record while the Red Sox are battling for a wild card spot, and the gap between the two teams is significant. Here are the AL East standings:

  1. Yankees: 59-23
  2. Rays: 45-37 (14 GB)
  3. Red Sox: 45-37 (14 GB)
  4. Blue Jays: 45-38 (14 1/2 GB)
  5. Orioles: 39-44 (20 1/2 GB)

The Rays and Red Sox have the same record, but Tampa leads the season series (4-2) and thus currently holds the tiebreaker, so they're higher in the standings. It's a little too early to worry about tiebreaker scenarios, but that's how the standings sit at the moment. This series is a first-place team against a distant technically third-place team.

"Our measuring stick is right there in front of us every day. We have 45 wins and I think we have the third or fourth best record in the American League. We got off to a terrible start and this is where we're at. On a daily basis, regardless of who you play, it's the day we have to attack," Red Sox manager Alex Cora told Wednesday. "They're having a great season, they're doing an outstanding job. They beat us two out of three the first three games of the season. We'll see what happens. We feel like we belong in the conversation. They've been great so far. We'll see how it goes."

Here are the details for this weekend's four-game series at Fenway Park. Games on MLB Network, Fox and ESPN can be streamed on fuboTV (try for free).

DateStart timeStarting pitchersTV

Thurs., July 7

7:10 p.m. ET

RHP Gerrit Cole (7-2, 2.99) vs. RHP Josh Winckowski (3-2., 3.12)

YES Network, NESN, MLB Network

Fri., July 8

7:10 p.m. ET

LHP Nestor Cortes (7-3, 2.44) vs. TBA

Amazon Prime Video, NESN, MLB Network

Sat., July 9

7:15 p.m. ET

LHP Jordan Montgomery (3-2, 3.19) vs. TBA


Sun., July 10

7:08 p.m. ET

RHP Jameson Taillon (9-2, 3.63) vs. RHP Nick Pivetta (8-6, 3.68)


The Red Sox have not yet announced their starting pitchers for Friday and Saturday, though Michael Wacha (6-1, 2.69) is expected to get the ball Friday. He was scratched from Monday's start with a "heavy arm." Saturday is shaping up to be a bullpen game, with righty Kutter Crawford (2-2, 5.04) seeing the bulk of the action, perhaps behind an opener.

Here are four things to know heading into this weekend's Yankees vs. Red Sox series at Fenway Park, with a prediction thrown in because why not?

1. They're about to see a lot more of each other

Despite being division rivals and despite the season being more than halfway complete, the Yankees and Red Sox have played just one series in 2022. The Yankees took two of three in New York in April. It was the first series of the season. The Yankees and Red Sox haven't played since, if you can believe that.

Because of that, the Yankees and Red Sox still have 16 -- 16! -- head-to-head games remaining this year, including nine in Boston. Roughly one out of every five games the Yankees and Red Sox play the rest of the season will be against each other. Here are the remaining head-to-head series:

  • July 7-10: 4 games at Fenway Park
  • July 15-17: 3 games at Yankee Stadium (last series before All-Star break)
  • Aug. 12-14: 3 games at Fenway Park
  • Sept. 13-14: 2 games at Fenway Park
  • Sept. 22-25: 4 games at Yankee Stadium

It must be noted that, because they have so many head-to-head games remaining, the Red Sox control their destiny in the AL East despite being 14 games back. Go 15-1 in the 16 games against the Yankees, match New York in non-head-to-head games, and the Red Sox will have the same record as the Yankees, but finish ahead of them because they'll hold the tiebreaker.

Improbable? Sure. Impossible? Nope. (The Red Sox will have to take care of business against the Blue Jays and Rays too.)

2. The Red Sox have struggled against the AL East

To date, intradivision games have not been kind to the Red Sox. They just lost two of three at home to the Rays and are 9-18 with a minus-28 run differential against AL East rivals this year. The Red Sox have not won a single series against another AL East team this season (0-8-0 in eight series). The head-to-head breakdown:

  • vs. Blue Jays: 3-7 (minus-10 run differential)
  • vs. Orioles: 3-5 (minus-7 run differential)
  • vs. Rays: 2-4 (minus-9 run differential)
  • vs. Yankees: 1-2 (minus-2 run differential)

The good news: Boston is 36-19 with a plus-81 run differential against non-AL East opponents. The bad news: Boston will play 49 of its remaining 80 games against AL rivals, or 61 percent. That includes series against the Rays, Yankees again, and Blue Jays immediately following this weekend's series with New York. The Red Sox must crack the AL East code to have a shot at October.

3. Judge and Devers are MVP candidates

Obvious statement is obvious. Aaron Judge and Rafael Devers have been two of the very best players in baseball this season, and while I suspect Judge would be voted AL MVP if the season ended today, Devers is very much in that race with nearly half-a-season still to play. Here's the head-to-head comparison:


Rafael Devers







Aaron Judge







Judge hit his 30th home run Wednesday night, a game-breaking grand slam in Pittsburgh. Only one other player has more than 25 home runs (Kyle Schwarber with 27) and Judge is the first American League player with 30 homers before the All-Star break since, well, Shohei Ohtani last year (33). But the last AL player to do it before Ohtani was Judge himself in 2017 (30).

The common thread between Judge and Devers other than MVP candidacy is they both rejected contract extensions in spring training. Judge, a free agent-to-be, famously declined a seven-year deal worth $217.5 million. Devers also passed on an extension, the details of which are unknown other than the two sides were "very far off," according to Devers will be a free agent after 2023.

"We had a conversation with the team," Devers told the Boston Globe in April. "We didn't get to anything. But I still have one more year. I have this one and the next year. And I'm ready to play with Boston, with the Red Sox. We're not going to talk about it (any more) this spring. Let's see how this season goes." 

4. Who's hot, who's not?

The baseball season is long and full of ups and downs. As such, several players on both teams are entering this weekend's series on hot streaks, and some are going into it mired in cold streaks. Here are three Yankees who have torn it up the last two weeks:


Isiah Kiner-Falefa





DJ LeMahieu





Gleyber Torres





Truth be told, New York's offense has been in a collective funk the last two weeks, at least prior to Wednesday's 16-run outburst in Pittsburgh. They'd averaged only 4.10 runs per game in their previous 11 games and that includes a 13-run game last weekend. Even Judge (.208/.296/.438) has been in a lull the last two weeks. Needless to say, the bats will need to come alive this weekend.

Now here are three Red Sox players riding two-week hot streaks:


Franchy Cordero





Jarren Duran





Alex Verdugo





The complementary players have had to lead the way the last two weeks because Xander Bogaerts (.167/.311/.278) and JD Martinez (.234/.295/.298) are slumping at the moment. Martinez takes a 19-game homer drought into Thursday's series opener, and he's gone deep only three times in his last 42 games. That's a 12-homer pace in a 162-game season.

Not-so-bold prediction: all the slumping Yankees and Red Sox bats wake up this weekend. They always seem to when these teams get together.

5. Prediction!

We're going to close with a prediction because we never pass up a chance to look foolish here. The four-game series gives me a chance to take the easy way out and say they'll split, but no, I'll say the Yankees win three of four. The Yankees have a big advantage on the mound, especially in the bullpen, and frankly they've been the much better team all season. I will set the over/under on hours played this series at 14.5. Yankees vs. Red Sox games are always a marathon.