A Decade-Long Tale of Two Teams by Adam Lowenstein
After the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees concluded their most recent series on early Monday morning, the two teams hit an important date in the season: August 8, 2011. Since the 2001 season, the team that is in first place in the American League Eastern Division beginning the day on August 8 has finished first 8 out of 10 times.
This season, the Red Sox (70 wins) and Yankees (69) have the most combined win total (139) on this date in the past 10 years. The Yankees have previously had 69 wins in 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2010 on August 8. However, the Red Sox have not had 70 wins at this date in the previous 10 seasons.
AL East Division Standings – before games on August 8
2001: NYY 68-46 BOS 64-49
2002: NYY 71-42 BOS 66-47
2003: NYY 70-43 BOS 67-48
2004: NYY 71-39 BOS 60-49
2005*: BOS 64-47 NYY 60-50
2006: NYY 66-43 BOS 65-46
2007: BOS 69-45 NYY 63-51
2008: TB 69-46 BOS 66-50 NYY 63-53
2009: NYY 68-42 BOS 62-47
2010: NYY 69-41 TB 67-44 BOS 63-49
2011: BOS 70-43 NYY 69-44
(Final AL East Champion in bold)
As you can plainly see, it has mostly been a two-team race over the past 10 years in the AL East; and this season is no different. On August 8, both teams have had 60 or more wins in all 10 years. The memorable 2004 season had the Red Sox down to the Yankees by 10.5 games on 8/8/2004, the greatest deficit on 8/8 in the past 10 years.
With 49 games remaining in the 2011 regular season, it should be a tight race to the finish line. The current separation between the Red Sox and Yankees, 1 game, is the closest the two rivals have been in the last 10 years on this date. While history says that the Red Sox will take the division, we should all hang on for a fantastic finish.
* In 2005, the Yankees and Red Sox finished the season with the same record (95-67). The Yankees won the tiebreaker to take the division.