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MLB playoff history: Yankees, Red Sox history as wild card teams

We break down how the Yankees and Red Sox have performed as a wild card.

Detailed view of a baseball bat with the American League wild card playoff logo before the baseball game between the New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics at Yankee Stadium. NorthJersey.com-USA TODAY NETWOR

The 2021 MLB Playoffs have arrived, and the American League will open with its two most historic franchises. The Boston Red Sox will host the New York Yankees on Tuesday in a one-game Wild Card round playoff. First pitch is scheduled for 8:08 p.m. ET at Fenway Park and the winner will advance to face the Tampa Bay Rays in a best-of-five series.

This is the fifth postseason matchup between these two teams. The Yankees won the first two in the 1999 and 2003 American League Championship Series. The Red Sox won the 2004 ALCS and the 2018 American League Division Series. This also marks only the second matchup between these two teams in a one-game playoff. The previous was an AL East tiebreaker game in 1978 that placed Bucky “Bleeping” Dent forever in the rivalry’s lore.

This is the first Wild Card game between the two teams that have claimed more wild card berths than anybody else in either league. They have each claimed eight wild card berths, with the Rockies running next with five total appearances since the 1995 introduction of the wild card.

New York Yankees Wild Card history

The Yankees claimed the first wild card berth in 1995. They have four of the berths from when it was just one team, and now four berths since the expansion to two teams in 2012. Their most recent appearance in the Wild Card round came in 2018, when they beat the Oakland A’s 7-2 at Yankee Stadium. They lost to the Red Sox in the ALDS that year.

In their previous seven seasons claiming a wild card, they have not had a lot of success. In 1995, 1997, and 2007, they lost in the ALDS. In 2010, they advanced out of the ALDS only to lose to the Rangers in the ALCS. After the expansion to two wild card teams, the Yankees lost the 2015 Wild Card game, advanced through the 2017 Wild Card round and ALDS before losing in the ALCS, and then advanced to and lost in the 2018 ALDS.

Wild Card Results

1995: lost ALDS
1997: lost ALDS
2007: lost ALDS
2010: won ALDS, lost ALCS
2015: lost WC game
2017: won WC game, won ALDS, lost ALCS
2018: won WC game, lost ALDS

Boston Red Sox Wild Card history

The Red Sox wild card history comes exclusively before the expansion to two teams. Their most recent appearance in the Wild Card round came in 2009, when the Angels swept them in the ALDS.

The team has advanced out of the first round in four of their seven Wild Card round appearances, most notably winning the World Series in 2004. At the time, they became the fourth wild card to win the World Series. They advanced to the ALCS in 1999, 2003, and 2008. They lost in the ALDS in 1998, 2005, and 2009.

Wild Card Results

1998: lost ALDS
1999: won ALDS, lost ALCS
2003: won ALDS, lost ALCS
2004: won ALDS, won ALCS, won World Series
2005: lost ALDS
2008: won ALDS, lost ALCS
2009: lost ALDS