For the first time since the epic 2004 ALCS, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will square off in a postseason series. Boston has been the best team in the game this season, as they've won 108 games, but the Yankees have been no slouch, finishing the regular season with an even 100.
Anything can happen in the postseason, and it wouldn't be a major shockNew York knocked off Boston, as the season series only went 10-9 to the Red Sox, but it won't be an easy task. With that in mind, here are three real reasons why the Yanks really can upset the Sox.
3. J.A. Happ Pitching Twice
J.A. Happ has already been announced as the Game 1 starter, and if this series goes four or five games like we all expect, he'll toe the mound against the Red Sox again. That's huge because Happ has been a Red Sox killer over his career, including possessing a 1.99 ERA over four starts them this season. This was why Brian Cashman acquired him, and he's given no reason to believe he won't continue to deal against this stacked lineup.
2. Healthier Than Ever Before
Every player for every team has their bumps and bruises at this point in the season, but for a while there, the Yankees just were dangerously unhealthy. You have to be a little concerned about Didi Gregorius' wrist, but he was able to play last night and even drove in a run. One guy you shouldn't be concerned about anymore is Aaron Judge, who went deep in the Wild Card Game and looks generally great. When both teams are as close to full health as possible, it's a coin flip as to who is the better team. Judge back and swinging the bat with no problem is no minor thing, and he himself could carry this offense, which is the last thing Boston wants to see.
1. Tale of Two Bullpens
Outside of Zach Britton, the Yankee bullpen flexed its muscles in the Wild Card win over Oakland. With Aroldis Chapman, Dellin Betances, David Robertson and Chad Green in the fold, there isn't a more loaded bullpen outside of (perhaps!) Milwaukee. Yes, the Red Sox have Craig Kimbrel, but everyone else is inconsistent, and as a unit they walk way too many batters. That's not a good thing to have when you think about closing out games in the postseason. That's a clear weakness for Boston that the Yankees can exploit. Expect a close series, and the success rate of the bullpens may be the difference between winning and losing.