The New York Yankees and Red Sox have been trying to sneak by as separate entities that are unattached and operating in a world where one team’s moves has little to no impact on what might be happening with the team that plays a four-hour train ride away.
The mere comparison of franchises was enough to make Red Sox president and chief operating officer Larry Lucchino cringe in spring training.
“We operate differently,” Lucchino said right around the time the Sox beat the Yankees to Cuban prospect Yoan Moncada with a $31.5 million bid. “They run their franchise. We run ours.”
But with half of the 2015 season in the books, it’s hard to see the separation Lucchino might wish existed. It wasn’t there when the Yankees narrowly beat the Sox in a three-game series before the All-Star break, outscoring their AL East rivals 16-12 in a tight matchup that featured a lot of offense, a little defense and inconsistent pitching on both sides.
Since June 1, the first-place Yankees are 22-15; the Red Sox are 20-18. The Yankees have a 4.09 ERA; the Red Sox have a 4.33 ERA. The Yankees are scoring 4.65 runs per game; the Red Sox are scoring 4.22 runs per game.
Throw in the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles, too. Overall this season, the four teams rank in the bottom third of the majors in starting pitching ERA, ranging from 4.20 (Orioles) to 4.75 (Red Sox). Offensively, the four teams make up four of the top-five run-scoring teams since June 1.
So while history might imply that coming back from a 61⁄2-game deficit in the AL East at the All-Star break is a rare feat, Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington also has to face the realization that the squad he built in the winter couldn’t be picked out of a lineup with three other teams in his division (the Tampa Bay Rays have the opposite problem, with a sparkling starting rotation ERA of 3.33 and an offense that is scoring less than four runs per game).
If one team is going to separate itself, it could happen with one phone call to another club.
The Philadelphia Phillies’ Cole Hamels is still on the starters market. The San Diego Padres are reportedly shopping James Shields while Tyson Ross and Andrew Cashner could also be available. Johnny Cueto of the Cincinnati …Read More