The Yankees-Red Sox rivalry feels like its back. Did it ever go away? Maybe, by "back" I mean the front offices seem to be dueling again. With the offseason additions of Giancarlo Stanton to the Bronx and J.D. Martinez to Boston, the AL East is the Yankees, Red Sox and everybody else. The way it's meant to be. And that's coming from someone who has zero allegiance to either team.

My instincts tell me the Yankees are the favorites, but if I have any reservations about that it's because of the regression to the mean. Aaron Judge won't hit 52 home runs. Stanton won't hit 59 home runs. Can Brett Gardner match his career-high in homers? Will Didi Gregorius be the same power bat as a year ago? New York will score a bunch of runs, but if the expectations are for each player to match last year's output, fans will be disappointed. The flip side is that Boston's bats should be better than last year. Betts, Bogaerts and Benintendi could be in for bigger seasons. So, if it comes down to pitching, I'll say it again, that's the way it's meant to be. (Spoken like someone who grew up watching the Braves)

To get us ready for Opening Day, we double-dipped on coverage by calling on the expertise of NBC Sports Boston's Evan Drellich and the Sporting News' Gary Phillips.