The Red Sox and Yankees in the American League division series Friday night and the Rhode Island Rams and the Brown Bears in their 103rdintrastate football game Saturday afternoon, both attractions coming after the Patriots convincing 38-24 victory over the Colts Thursday night at Gillette Stadium.
An autumn weekend in Rhode Island doesn’t get much better.
The Boston-New York showdown has the potential to rank among the best between the fierce and longtime rivals. The Red Sox won 108 games, a franchise record, thanks to strong starting pitching, impressive hitting throughout the batting order, solid defense and substitutes who gave clutch performances.
Slugger J.D. Martinez and outfielder Mookie Betts have produced MVP seasons. Left fielder Andrew Benintendi should have been an All-Star. Pitcher Chris Sale had a first half worthy of Cy Young recognition. Rick Porcello and David Price dominated opposing batters at times. Rookie manager Alex Cora kept the clubhouse calm and everybody happy.
Why, then, am I worried? Because the team in the other dugout is the Yankees, winners of 100 games. The Yankees also have strong starting pitching, better relief pitching and a lineup that hit 267 home runs, a major-league record.. The Yankees beat the Red Sox nine times, including four of six in September and two of three on the final weekend.
I am worried because of Sale’s occasional left shoulder soreness and Boston’s questionable bullpen strength. I am worried because the Red Sox were 6-7 the last two weeks of September after going 9-4 the first two weeks. Yes, I know Cora rested his starters those last two weeks, but was rest worth losing momentum? Probably, but I am worried, mostly worried that the Yankees will win this series in five games.
Little Meade Stadium in Kingston should be rocking when the resurgent Rhody Rams welcome Brown. URI is 3-1, ranked 17/18 this week in the Football Championship Series polls and showing promise that a winning season might be within reach. Rhody has enjoyed only three of those since 1985.
Brown defeated Georgetown last week after starting with losses to Cal Poly and Harvard. Coach Phil Estes is in his 21st season on College Hill and trying to lead his Bears back to the top half of the Ivy League. His teams have won three Ivy titles, but the last was in 2008.