Two of the oldest rivals in baseball will open the 2022 regular season against each other as the Red Sox head into the Bronx to face the Yankees. Last season the Red Sox went 10-9 against New York in the regular season in addition to a resounding Wild Card victory over them in Boston.
Both teams have had somewhat similar offseasons and are opening the 2022 season expecting to contend in the American League East. This rivalry is now over a century old and does not seem to have lost any of its drama.
Let’s take a look at what to expect as two of baseball’s most legendary franchises open the 2022 season on Friday at Yankee Stadium.
The pitching matchup in this one is going to be a rematch of last year’s AL Wild Card as Gerrit Cole tows the rubber for the Yanks against Boston’s Nathan Eovaldi.
Despite being one of the best starting pitchers in the AL, the Red Sox hit Cole very well in 2021 as they batted .279 with an .852 on-base plus slugging percentage as a team against him. That ability to get to Cole was heightened in the Wild Card game as the Boston offense chased him out after just 2+ innings and served the Yanks the L.
Cole was still an AL Cy Young Award finalist last season, so the Red Sox can’t lose focus on Friday afternoon. Boston’s offense is their speciality and it’s looking as formidable as ever with the addition of infielder Trevor Story. The Red Sox’ star third baseman Rafael Devers hit .364 against Cole last season, so that’s certainly a player to look out for in this matchup.
Coincidentally, the Yankees also hit .279 against Eovaldi but with a significantly less impressive OPS of .744. Someone in the Yankees’ lineup to look out for is infielder DJ LeMahieu who gave Eovaldi fits in 2021, hitting 10 for 19 (.526) against him with a home run and a double.
Perennial All-Star Aaron Judge hit similarly well off Eovaldi well as he went 6 for 10 against him also with a double and home run. Other than those two individual performances, the Yankees largely struggled against Eovaldi, and when you take away LeMahieu and Judge’s numbers, the Yankees batted a paltry .206 against him in 2021.
The Yanks’ big addition to the lineup in 2022 is former MVP third baseman Josh Donaldson who hit .247 with 26 homers, 72 RBI and an .827 OPS last season.
The pressure is going to be on the Yankees in this one as they look to start the season out with a win against their arch rivals in front of the Bronx faithful. After a relatively quiet offseason, the Yankees will also be trying to prove to the baseball world at large that they can win with their current roster and are turning the tide in 2022.
The Red Sox’ offense is going to be the biggest roadblock to a Yankees victory in this game and it’ll be incumbent on Cole to keep the Boston bats at bay early on.
The Yankees’ big mashers like Judge, Donaldson and Giancarlo Stanton will need to get to Eovaldi and use the hitter’s ballpark of Yankee Stadium to their advantage.
This is a Red Sox squad which will feature a pretty similar look to last season with a few exceptions. Eovaldi doesn’t have the prowess that Cole does but he was even more effective in this matchup last season.
With all of the Yankees’ offseason questions and the inability of Cole to pitch to consistent success against the Red Sox, take Boston on the money line as they’re slated at +150. The over/under is 8 and anyone familiar with this rivalry in recent years should know how much of an offensive barrage it usually is. Take the over in this one and the Red Sox on the run line at -145.
Final score prediction: Red Sox 7, Yankees 5