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The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will meet for the first time this season beginning on Friday night. While the two sides have been separated through the first two months of the schedule, they’re about to get sick of seeing one another. Over the next 10 days, the Yankees and Red Sox will play six times.

If it feels like this weekend’s series has crept up on you … well, there’s good reason for that. Even the players are admitting that the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry isn’t as engrossing as it used to be back in the ’90s and beyond. Don’t take our word for it, either. Here’s what Yankees left-hander Nestor Cortes told Jake Mintz of FOX Sports: “It doesn’t feel like what we have with Tampa now, or with Toronto now. You could argue that [the Red Sox] haven’t been who they really are the last couple years.”  

You can indeed argue that, Nestor — about both teams, really. The Yankees will enter the weekend in third place in the American League East, while the Red Sox — who first have to finish off their series with the Cleveland Guardians — might enter with both a losing record and a last-place standing. 

It reasons the Yankees think their games against the Rays and Blue Jays feel more important — because lately, they have been more important. The Red Sox have made the postseason once since winning the 2018 World Series; comparatively, the Yankees and the Rays have made the playoffs every year since, and the Blue Jays have made it in two of the last three seasons (they won 91 games the year they missed out). 

And that’s without considering the extracurricular components. Don’t forget, the Yankees and Blue Jays have had heated moments with one another, including earlier this season when the Yankees appeared to have picked up on Toronto’s signs. (The Yankees and Rays have also clashed over the years, most recently in May, when two Yankees pitchers drilled Randy Arozarena in a game in which he homered.)

So, is Cortes justified in his claim? Absolutely. Now, let’s hope this weekend provides some good baseball all the same.

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