Yankees missed golden opportunity to halt Red Sox momentum in sliding doors moment

Oh, yeah, very good. Totally fine and good.
San Francisco Giants v Boston Red Sox
San Francisco Giants v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/GettyImages

Why are the 2024 Red Sox outperforming their last-place expectations thus far? Some of it is typical Boston fairy dust. They've lost Triston Casas and Trevor Story, yet fill-in Rob Refsnyder is hitting .343 with a 1.052 OPS. Tyler O'Neill has nine homers and a 203 OPS+. That is colloquially known as "bullshit".

But, above all else, the semi-sustainable driver of the Red Sox has been Boston's resurgent pitching staff, and while it's unlikely Tanner Houck and Kutter Crawford ultimately finish 1-2 in Cy Young balloting, there's a tangible reason for the rotation's makeover rather than just dumb luck.

Pitching coach Andrew Bailey has brought his offspeed spammin' from San Francisco to the East Coast, emerging as a potential future managerial successor to Alex Cora in just one month. Boston's record doesn't reflect quite how successful this change has been; anyone who's followed the Red Sox for even one second knows they'll probably improve their offense as the year drags on. If their pitching even approximates 60% of this success down the stretch, they'll be formidable.

And hey, look. It was probably always a foregone conclusion that Bailey would join Breslow, his old friend, in Boston all along. But the Yankees did get him in the building first this offseason, and while using Bailey as a bench coach rather than a pitching lead would've somewhat neutered his powers, at least it would've kept him away from Beantown.

Never forget Yankees interviewed Red Sox pitching coach Andrew Bailey this offseason

Now, no pitching coach is an across-the-board miracle worker with no blips; Bailey's Giants, after all, only made the postseason once during his tenure. When they got there, their smoke-and-mirrors 107 wins (!!!) were no match for the star power of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who tripped them up in five games and finished the NLDS on San Francisco's home turf.

It's best not to dwell on this; Breslow and Bailey seemed to have concocted a secret plan, which the Yankees could only halt for a few moments. Bench coach? Yeah, he would've turned that down with Matt Blake in the other room. He probably did, actually.

But still, it's going to sting that, instead of importing or drafting top-tier pitching, Boston went with the cheat code, bringing in a guru to spin straw into gold. It's not quite as much of a shortcut as the Orioles moving the wall back 40 feet, but in this case, it was a slightly more preventable one for the Yankees.