Boston Red Sox vs. New York Yankees

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But those eight wins, as impressive as some were, came against the Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins. Both teams are young and stacked with talent. The Sox did their job against the cellar dwellers.

The Red Sox are tied with the Mets (insert small sample size and/or deprecating joke here) for the best record in baseball at 8-1.

The longtime radio voice of the Yankees came out of the gates on Opening Day with "Giancarlo, non si può de stoparlo!"

This isn't another lose-now team. Slugging outfielder Giancarlo Stanton and the remaining 10 years of his groundbreaking $325-million contract was shipped to NY in the offseason, settling into a lineup that can now appropriately be called the Bronx Bombers again. Their lineup is loaded.

As far as Stanton versus the depth of Boston's bullpen, it's anyone's guess. He's already endured a pair of five strikeout games, and was booed lustily in the Bronx because of it.

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The Red Sox have also been hearing how much the Yankees have improved all spring while they have gotten off to one of the best starts in baseball themselves.

But two weeks into his debut in pinstripes, Stanton is stalling at the plate to an unprecedented degree. An offensive explosion against the Yankees would immediately endear Martinez to his new fan base.

These are dandies, even if we don't know for sure who will toe the rubber for NY in the series finale on Thursday after CC Sabathia was placed on the DL with a hip injury over the weekend (Sonny Gray is the likeliest of candidates).

To have those teams represent your first nine games was a gift, and the Red Sox did what a good club should - unwrapped the present to expose all of its deficiencies. The Sox play the Yanks at least once each month, 19 games that will culminate in a season-ending showdown at Fenway from September 28-30.

Sale has yet to pick up a decision in two starts this season, and he comes into this matchup with extra rest. If they can hit Severino, that'll be a sign that the power surge could be here to stay. That said, we'll find out who the real Stanton is soon enough.

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Tuesday had somewhat of a big-game feel, even as Alex Cora tried to temper expectations, saying "it was just another series". Boston's top-of-the-order triumvirate of Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez scorched the Yankees all night. "I was shocked." In Mad Dog's accounting, the booing was done by "seven Yankees fans who are drunk, who are sitting there with a poncho and who want to go out there and boo".

I'm not sure if there was any actual closing of lips and expelling of air going on at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, since that sort of thing has largely gone out of style.

Sunday's TV ratings in Boston represent a snapshot of the Red Sox' early-season popularity.

While Aaron Judge tormented most of Major League Baseball in 2017, the Red Sox had his number.

It's only nine games into the 2018 season, but the Boston Red Sox sit atop the standings with an MLB-leading 8-1 record. The lefty only gave up a run on eight hits, eight strikeouts and no walks in six innings.

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His numbers were even worse at Fenway Park; Judge went 3 for 36. The Yankees lost pitcher CC Sabathia and third baseman Brandon Drury just last week, and have dealt with the loss of first baseman Greg Bird, and outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury and Clint Frazier.

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