Donald Trump’s hair on top of Oscar the Grouch’s mug.
That’s how ugly the Yankees’ and Red Sox’s start to the season has been with no immediate indications it is going to improve quickly for either.
A popular pick to unseat the defending World Series champions in the AL East, the Yankees’ injured list includes some of the game’s biggest stars and the active roster is drowning in disappointment.
Hence, Aaron Boone’s club lugs a 6-9 ledger into Yankee Stadium on Tuesday night against a 6-11 Red Sox squad that looks more like the Blue Jays than the bunch that celebrated a World Series title last year at Dodger Stadium.
According to Elias Sports Bureau, this is the first time since April 12, 2014 the Red Sox and Yankees have met with losing records. They each were 5-6 entering that Bronx matchup.
The sub-.500 records aren’t the only thing odd about the season’s first meeting of sports’ most fierce rivalry.
A midweek series isn’t unheard of, but two games on school/work nights rarely matches the intensity of Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park on a weekend. Even the Tyler Austin-Joe Kelly ignited dustup on a Wednesday night at Fenway last April was mild by comparison to other disturbances.
While hoping his staggering club, losers of five of six, begins to end a miserable start on Tuesday, Boone said he understands the Red Sox at some point are going to improve.
“We know what they are capable of,’’ Boone said after his club dropped two of three to the White Sox at Yankee Stadium where the Yankees are 3-6. “Anytime we get together with them, it is going to be tough battles. Both teams before long will probably be rolling pretty well.’’
Of the two, the Red Sox have the better chance because they don’t have big names on the shelf. Furthermore, the Yankees don’t know when Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Dellin Betances, Gary Sanchez, Miguel Andujar, Troy Tulowitzki and Didi Gregorius will return.
That doesn’t mean the Red Sox are without warts.
Ace Chris Sale’s drop in velocity and 0-3 record to go with an obese 9.00 ERA is alarming and while the Craig Kimbrel-less bullpen has been effective, questions across a six-month season remain.
All four starters are struggling and have contributed to the early mess for each club. James Paxton opposes Sale on Tuesday night and lugs a 1-2 record and 6.00 ERA to the mound after believing he was tipping his knuckle curve and the Astros were swiping signs in his last outing, in which he was punished.
Wednesday evening provides Nathan Eovaldi against J.A. Happ and they have been as bad as Tuesday night’s participants. Eovaldi brings an 8.40 ERA into his fourth start and has given up 18 hits (six homers) in 15 innings and has walked (10) as many as he has whiffed. Happ is 0-2 with an 8.76 ERA in three starts.
As for the Yankees getting their first look at the Red Sox after being eliminated from the ALDS last October, Luke Voit was vocal about using the Red Sox as a springboard.
“For sure, after what happened last year. A lot of us were in that locker room and [it] left a little bad taste in our mouth,’’ Voit said. “That was my first time in the playoffs and it sucks to lose. [It’s] exciting to get a chance to get back at them.’’
What happens with that chance is unknown because even as bad as the Red Sox have been, their lineup is better than the Orioles, Tigers and White Sox against whom the Yankees went 3-6 at home to begin a nightmare start to their season.
— Additional reporting by Dan Martin