As the Red Sox prepare to say hello to the New York Yankees for the first time at Fenway Park this season, they may have the opportunity to wave goodbye to the pinstripes for good.
The Sox and Yanks kickoff a three-game series tonight and the two will play 13 more times before it’s all said and done.
"There's a lot more games left to be played," manager John Farrell said. "The most important thing for us is that we get off the road, we get back into this ballpark and feed off the energy of the people here in Fenway. We're looking forward to the start of this homestand."
While the Yanks are in the hunt in the American League East at 51-34, they are currently in fourth place and trail the Red Sox by a full six games. This Yankee team is more pretender than contender.
"We have to win our games, period," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "We're three out of the wild card and six out in the division and we have to close the gap. Every game is important."
Despite solid pitching, New York has allowed more runs than they have scored this season. They rode hot performances at the beginning of the year with other team’s castoffs like Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay and Travis Hafner. That hot streak seems to have gone cold. Wells is hitting .238, Overbay is at .252 and Hafner is down to .218 and has one homer since May 20.
"I think there's urgency no matter what," Wells said. "The good thing is we have several games left against Boston. You control your destiny in the second half."
With the health of Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and A-Rod up in the air, it might take some major moves at the trade deadline just for the Bombers to keep pace in the AL East and the wild-card race.
“You don’t normally see the Yankees in fourth place,” Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia said. “But you know they’re going to be there in the end. We have to play well and win every game we possibly can."
The Yankees will have an opportunity to cut into the Red Sox division lead starting tonight or the Red Sox may be waving bye-bye in the rearview mirror.