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Here come the Yankees for first Fenway series of 2022

Red Sox to welcome Aaron Judge and their archrivals for the club's final home series before the All-Star break.

New York Yankees' Aaron Judge hits a three-run home run during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Toronto Blue Jays Tuesday, May 10, 2022, in New York. The Yankees won 6-5. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II) The Associated Press

The New York Yankees won’t visit Fenway Park over the first three months of the Major League Baseball calendar. And, given how good their rivals have been to start the 2022 season, that’s probably not a bad thing for the Red Sox.

Sure, any true competitor welcomes the chance to prove themselves against the best — but while the Sox were floundering through most of April and May before scratching back to .500 in early June, the Yanks were asserting themselves as the team to beat in the American League.

New York finished the first third of the season with a record of 39-15, good for a 7.5-game lead in what was expected to be an ultra-competitive American League East, and distancing itself from Boston by a dozen games. Superstar outfielder Aaron Judge blasted his way to the top of the MVP conversation by easily becoming baseball’s first to surpass the 20-homer plateau, though this year’s Yankees aren’t merely defined by being the Bronx Bombers. A month out from their Fenway arrival, they also boasted the AL’s best ERA, and featured five starting pitchers with an ERA of 3.02 or better. Gerrit Cole remained the anchor of the staff, but two months into the season it was lefty Nestor Cortes who led the Cy Young race.

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The Red Sox hung with the Yankees when the teams met in the Big Apple over the first weekend of the season, with Boston taking the finale of a three-game set after losing the first two tilts by a total of three runs. Since then, however, both teams have improved — and so these four games in July should be a good measuring stick for a Sox club that continues trying to scratch its way back to legitimate contention. They’ll also host the playoff-expectant Rays during the same homestand, immediately before New York arrives for a Thursday-Sunday weekend showdown.

As of early June, tickets for all four night games were still available through the Red Sox website.

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