Red Sox, Yankees have an AL East division race to the wire

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18: Rafael Devers
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 18: Rafael Devers /

The Boston Red Sox schedule is a marathon until the last few weeks of the season when it becomes a sprint. Will they hold off the Yankees for the division title?

Something that we can all relate to is that nagging injury or cold that you simply cannot shake. You may rest, take treatments, curse your lot in life, but the fact remains you just can’t shake it.  Only time will eventually provide you with relief.  That is how Boston Red Sox fans now view the new and improved New York Yankees.

The Red Sox and Yankees will be in the playoffs – that is one item I have no doubt will take place. The issue is just where in the playoffs?  A Wild Card is as dangerous as walking across Niagara Falls on a tightrope in a blizzard. A one game option exists that can mean a quick exit. No second or third game redemption. A simple one and done.

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The most fortuitous of avenues is to win your division and not be held hostage to a single game. Chris Sale is certainly capable of having a “bad day” and that means a big “See Ya!” An extended series avoids that. So for the Red Sox and their nemesis the Yankees the division title is a significant enticement for going all out.

Joe Girardi – the Yankees manager – has taken some heat recently from his sensitive pitchers.  That is not unusual for good arms do not necessarily have stable minds attached.  Both C.C. Sabathia and Jaime Garcia were denied wins when subjected to an early hook. Dellin Betances also joined the disenchanted with an early hook the other day.  Imagine the audacity of Girardi to put winning ahead of personal goals?

New York has a splendid bullpen and manager Joe is playing to win and not give solace to the fragile pitchers on his staff.  The managerial style is now geared to putting as much pressure on Boston in hopes of capturing that coveted division title.

The Yankees are hanging around.  Boston entered Thursday with a 3.0 game lead with the hour-glass quickly running out of sand. Boston just can’t shake the Yankees and that is certainly a good thing. This is the only division race in town for the American League.

There are conflicting opinions on just how significant a tight down to the wire race is. Does the team stay in a highly competitive mode being forced to consider every game as significant? Cleveland and Houston are in cruise control with their records.  Will there be postseason slippage? Personally, I lean towards the highly competitive aspects despite the problems your rotation may encounter.

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The next few weeks will be a joy to watch with the only negative being no head-to-head competition between the Yankees and Red Sox. That leads to some rather diligent scoreboard watching, lineup examination and pitching match ups. What it also allows is someone other than Boston or New York to have an impact.

Looking at the schedule both teams will face opponents with nothing of value to play for except being a spoiler. The Orioles can have a dramatic change in the standings with series against both. There is also that potential season ending series with Boston at home against Houston. Will the Astros go all second team if Boston needs those games?

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I do have a tendency to dismiss strength of schedule.  The O’s and Jays are in miserable shape with both having forgettable seasons.  The path to the team and personal redemption would be knocking off either New York or Boston.  Every game is a potential “Trap Game” when you are playing a down and out with nothing to lose ball club.

Hunters will say beware of the wounded animal and a few wounded animals on the schedule for New York and Boston.