Yankees vs. Red Sox: History of MLB’s biggest rivalry in postseason, elimination games

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There aren’t many rivalries that may match the historic significance and notoriety of the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Despite greater than 100 years of historical past as rivals, the 2 groups have not often confronted off in opposition to each other in the postseason. This stems from the truth that the 2 groups play in the identical division and, till 1995 with the introduction of the wild-card and division sequence, just one crew per division might attain the postseason.

But there have been many memorable moments when the 2 have confronted in decisive games. From the Bucky Dent tie-breaker recreation to the primary postseason assembly in 1999 to the assembly of 100-win seasons in 2018, the Red Sox and Yankees have all the time delivered on the hype.

MORE: MLB playoff schedule 2021

For the primary time, the 2 groups will face off in the winner-moves-on, loser-goes-home wild-card recreation on Tuesday. Ahead of the anticipated conflict, Sporting News seems again on the historical past of elimination games between the 2 groups.

1978 tie-breaker recreation

This is not technically a playoff recreation, but it surely was by all means an elimination recreation.

The Red Sox and Yankees completed the 1978 seasons with matching 99-63 data and tied for first place in the AL East. Thus, a 163rd regular-season recreation needed to be added to their schedules to determine who would symbolize the East in the American League Championship Series.

Based on a coin flip, the Red Sox had been designated as the house crew.

Boston went with Mike Torrez, its Opening Day beginning pitcher, to toe the rubber. Torrez got here into the sport with a 16-12 file. He had a 3.92 ERA and 116 strikeouts in 243.1 innings of work. The Yankees turned to their ace and the eventual 1978 AL Cy Young winner, Ron Guidry, for the beginning. Guidry had been a power in 1978, having pitched to a 24-3 file with a 1.72 ERA over 267.1 innings. He struck out 243 batters and allowed solely a .191 batting common.

In the second inning, Carl Yastrzemski took Guidry deep to offer the Red Sox a lead. In the underside of the sixth, Jim Rice scored Rick Burleson to make it a 2-0 recreation. Torrez was dealing on the mound till the seventh inning. The Yankees put two runners on base, however with two outs Torrez solely needed to retire Bucky Dent to finish the inning.

Dent owned a .243/.286/.309 slash line coming into the sport and had hit simply 4 residence runs that season and solely 22 in his first 789 games in the large leagues. Naturally, he took Torrez deep for a go-ahead three-run homer that gave New York the lead. The Yankees added one other run in the inning and yet another in the highest of the eighth to take a 5-2 lead. The Red Sox added two extra runs in the underside of the eighth, however Goose Gossage held the lead and pushed the Yankees on to a 5-4 win and a spot in the ALCS.

The Yankees went on to win the World Series. The Red Sox noticed one other 12 months go by with out a title.

2003 American League Championship Series

This complete sequence ranks extremely among the many most entertaining in baseball’s historical past.

The Red Sox gained Game 1, the Yankees gained 2 and three, the Red Sox gained Game 4, the Yankees gained Game 5 and the Red Sox gained Game 6 to power the ultimate recreation. Game 3 featured one of essentially the most memorable moments in the rivalry when Pedro Martinez hit Karim Garcia, clearing the benches, earlier than Roger Clemens retaliated by throwing excessive and tight to Manny Ramirez to start out a brawl. During that brawl, Martinez grabbed Yankees bench coach Don Zimmer by the top and threw him to the bottom. Fines had been assessed and tempers had been fired up halfway by the sequence.

When the Red Sox compelled Game 7 in Yankee Stadium, it appeared the sequence was destined for a dramatic end. Sure sufficient, the sport delivered. 

Martinez began in opposition to Clemons on the mound, however the Red Sox bought to the Yankees’ ace early. With one out and a runner on in the highest of the second, Trot Nixon crushed a homer to right-center to place Boston forward 2-0. Jason Varitek doubled and scored on throwing error by Enrique Wilson to make it a 3-0 lead. Kevin Millar hit a house run off Clemens in the highest of the fourth and after a stroll and single, the Red Sox had chased Clemens from the sport and compelled the Yankees to deliver in Mike Mussina from the bullpen.

The Yankees added a run again when Jason Giambi homered off Martinez in the underside of the fifth and he slugged one other one in the underside of the seventh to make it a 4-2 recreation, however David Ortiz launched one of his personal in the highest of the eighth off David Wells to deliver Boston’s lead again as much as three runs.

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Then, Boston started to lose management of the sport. In the underside of the eighth, Derek Jeter doubled with one out and got here round to attain on a single by Bernie Williams that introduced the rating to 5-3. Red Sox supervisor Grady Little got here out to the mound to speak to Martinez, however opted to go away him in. The resolution, since second-guessed by many, backfired. A tiring Martinez gave up a ground-rule double to Hideki Matsui and a two-RBI double to Jorge Posada to tie the sport at 5. Martinez was then pulled from the sport. The Yankees picked up two extra baserunners in the inning, together with Ruben Sierra, who was deliberately walked and lifted for a pinch-runner by the identify of Aaron Boone, however Mike Timlin stranded the bases loaded.

The ninth and tenth innings glided by quietly as Timlin and Tim Wakefield mixed for 2 scoreless innings out of the bullpen for the Red Sox, and Mariano Rivera delivered three scoreless frames for the Yankees. But in the underside of the eleventh, the sport met its conclusion.

Leading off the inning, Boone, now New York’s supervisor, etched his identify without end in Yankees lore when he crushed the primary pitch he noticed from Wakefield into left discipline for a no-doubt residence run. The Yankees had been as soon as once more American League champions, although they’d go on to lose the World Series to the Marlins.

Little was fired after the season, and the Red Sox introduced in the bench coach of the 2003 Athletics, a skipper who beforehand managed the Phillies from 1996 to 2000, although by no means posted a successful season. Enter Terry Francona.

2004 American League Championship Series

For the second straight 12 months, the American League pennant would go to 1 of the 2 northeast rivals.

This time, although, it appeared as if there was going to be far much less drama. The Yankees owned the most effective file in the American League and appeared to be runaway favorites for the pennant.

And New York actually cemented that standing early. The Yankees took Game 1 10-7, Game 2 3-1 and Game 3 19-8. Up 3-0 in the sequence needing only one recreation to clinch the pennant, the Yankees had champagne bottles on ice simply ready for the second.

But the Red Sox did not hand over. It took 12 innings for them to win Game 4. Tim Wakefield had his revenge pitching in aid and took the win in walk-off trend on an Ortiz homer in the underside of the 14th in Game 5. Curt Schilling pitched Boston to an excellent sequence in the well-known “Bloody Sock Game” in Game 6 because the Red Sox gained 4-2. 

Looking for some drama in Game 7? Sorry, this is not that recreation. Ortiz homered in the highest of the primary to drive in two off Kevin Brown. Johnny Damon constructed Boston as much as a 6-0 lead with a grand slam in the highest of the second. Jeter singled in a run in the underside of the third, however Damon introduced it proper again with a two-run homer in the highest of the fourth to make it an 8-1 recreation. The Yankees added two runs in the underside of the seventh off Martinez, who got here in to pitch in aid, however the Red Sox once more added these runs again in the highest of the eighth and high of the ninth to win 10-3.

The Red Sox went on to face the Cardinals, who had the most effective file in baseball that 12 months with 105 wins, but it surely did not matter. Boston had all of the momentum and gained 4 straight to brush the World Series and declare its first Fall Classic since 1918.

Other playoff sequence between the groups

Only thrice have the Red Sox and Yankees performed off in a win-or-go-home recreation, however they’ve met in the playoffs a couple of different occasions as effectively.

The first assembly got here in 1999, when the 2 met in the American League Championship Series. The Yankees had been in the midst of their newest dynastic run and gained the primary two games in opposition to Boston earlier than the Red Sox bought on the board in resounding trend, selecting up a 13-1 win. But the Yankees outscored them 15-3 in the following two games at Fenway Park to succeed in the World Series, the place they’d win in opposition to the Braves in 4 games.

They met most just lately in the 2018 ALDS with each groups having completed the season with 100-plus-wins. The Red Sox gained an in depth first recreation and the Yankees evened the matchup in the second recreation, however Boston handed New York its worst postseason loss in franchise historical past with a 16-1 defeat in Game 3. The Red Sox gained 4-3 in the following recreation to win the sequence 3-1. They went on to win the World Series 4-1 in opposition to the Dodgers.

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There appears to be a development in these postseason rivalry matchups. Albeit in a small pattern measurement, the winner has gone on to the World Series every time. Including the 1978 elimination recreation, the winner of the sequence is 4-1 in the World Series. Will the winner on Tuesday attain the Fall Classic? They have the longest street forward, needing to get by the Rays in the ALDS and the winner of the White Sox vs. Astros matchup. 

But if there’s one factor to anticipate between these two groups, it is that this recreation ought to ship followers an thrilling matchup to kick off the 2021 MLB postseason.

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