Playoff atmopshere for Yankees-Red Sox

With the temperatures cooling down and the combatants representing the oldest rivalry in the American League, there was a postseason atmosphere Thursday night at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees and the Red Sox opened a four-game series. Boston held a 5 ½-game lead over the Rays in the AL East with the Yankees in third place eight games back.

A month ago, the Yankees were left for dead, and while a division title remains a tall order they have moved into serious contention for one of the wild-card berths as they trail Tampa Bay for the second entry by only 2 ½ games. The Rays were at Anaheim Thursday night.

The Yanks are 5-7 this season against Boston and have already surpassed their loss total to the Red Sox of last year. The Yankees have won 10 of the past 17 regular-season games between the club and 21 of the past 34. In 2012, the Yankees were 13-5 against Boston. It marked their first winning season against the Red Sox since 2007 (10-8).

At the Stadium, the Yankees have won six of their past 10 games and 10 of their past 18 between the teams and are 31-29 against the Red Sox at home since 2007. In 2012, the Yankees were 6-3 against Boston, their first winning home season series since 2009 (7-2).

Derek Jeter leads all active major leaguers with 264 games and 321hits against Boston and ranks second in runs (168) and RBI (124). The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Jeter’s 142 winning games in the regular season against the Red Sox are the most for any player who entered the majors since 1960.

Yankees batters were hit by four pitches in their Aug. 18 victory at Fenway Park. The victims were Alex Rodriguez, Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix and Robinson Cano. It was their most hit batters in a single game since April 15, 2000 at the Stadium against the Royals (Tino Martinez, Bernie Williams, Clay Bellinger twice). The Yankees were hit six times over the three-game Boston series, which matched the Yankees’ most hit by pitchers of any length against any team over the past 100 seasons. It also occurred June 7-9, 2011 at the Stadium against the Red Sox in three games; Sept. 4-8, 1945 at the Stadium against the Tigers in seven games and May 12-15, 1923 at Detroit in four games.

The Yankees have been hit with five or more pitches in 22 series all time, with seven of them coming at the hands of the Red Sox since 2000. According to Elias, the only time the Yankees have been hit with more pitches in a series was a five-game set June 20-24, 1913 at Washington in which a single-game team-record six Yankees got hit in the series opener by Senators pitchers.

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