The great New York Yankees teams of the past have all been predicated on the presence of powerful left-handed hitters who could take aim at the short porch in right field (and, typically, clear it by 40 feet while occasionally getting lucky with cheapies).
The modern, quite bad New York Yankees? They've struggled to find adequate left-handed bats, or somehow forgotten that they're supposed to even be looking for and prioritizing them.
Despite the fact that Yankee Stadium possesses a built-in cheat code that turns good lefties great and average lefties into potential porch merchants, maximizing their skills, the Yankees have shied away from left-handed hitters in recent years. GM Brian Cashman has facilitated an inexcusable decline; from 2009 to present, the Yankees have gone from first in MLB in "plate appearances by lefties" to 27th. Midseason scrambles for the likes of Anthony Rizzo and Joey Gallo haven't been intended to enhance balance in the lineup; they've been intended to create it from scratch.
Contrary to popular belief among trolls, every team that visits the Bronx also has the opportunity to take advantage of the porch, and often does, inserting additional left-handers along the way in hopes that someone unexpected might pop one. Traditionally, that's been an unspoken element of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. The Bronx has cozy dimensions in right, while Fenway Park has a bizarre wraparound near Pesky's Pole, a deep bullpen in true right field, and a way-too-close gigantic wall in left that right-handed sluggers have feasted on for ages.
Anyway ... strike that, reverse it. The current Red Sox are replete with young left-handed hitters, with an apparently endless pipeline of them below the surface at Triple-A, too. The two young players acquired in last year's Christian Vázquez trade, Enmanuel Valdez and Wilyer Abreu (who debuted this week), have both supplemented lefties Rafael Devers, Jarren Duran, Triston Casas, Alex Verdugo and Masataka Yoshida this season.
So why has this clearly been a priority and consideration for the team that plays in Fenway's cavernous right field conditions, while the Yankees have stumbled in every attempt to stock their lefty pipeline? Boggles the mind.
Why did Red Sox build a lineup for Yankee Stadium, while Yankees failed to do so?
If you're already sick and tired of the 2023 Red Sox punishing the Yankees, it seems unlikely to end soon, as Boston's emergent lineup is uniquely constructed to succeed in enemy territory.
Not only do the Sox go lefty-righty with ease, but so many of their recently-promoted additions to the lineup have been left-handed. Jasson Dominguez and Austin Wells could soon arrive and help the Yankees vary their attack, but if the Yankees were wise, those two would be joining a balanced lineup, not kickstarting the process.
Maybe Boston merely prioritized talent, and the lefties rose to the top. Maybe they intentionally cultivated L/R/L/R power so they could compete in any environment, rather than catering to their home ballpark. Whatever got us to this point, though, has resulted in the Red Sox building a lineup that mashes in Yankee Stadium. This is in stark contrast to the Yankees, who look weak no matter where they play.
Stealing Yoshida last offseason could've been a pivot point, allowing New York to somewhat even the playing field in this department. Instead, the rock steady "veteran" presence from overseas now serves as the exclamation point at the end of Boston's plan, while the Yankees have barely managed to start the sentence.