How Huge Yankees-Red Sox Series Will Impact the Rest of Their Seasons
The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox will kick off a four-game series in the Bronx on Thursday night that will have huge AL East implications.
The two teams are both competing for playoff spots and seeding, not to mention the pride that comes with winning baseball's biggest rivalry.
The Yankees are looking to make a huge comeback and steal a wild-card spot, whereas the Red Sox are trying to hold off the Detroit Tigers for home-field advantage and ruin their rivals' season at the same time.
Just how much does this series mean? Let's take a look at how each possible outcome could affect each team's season.
How a New York Series Win Affects the Yankees
The Yankees looked like they were dead in the water a couple of weeks ago, but now the team has a legitimate chance to make the postseason.
Thanks to a hot streak by the Yanks and a minor collapse by the Tampa Bay Rays (2-8 in their last 10 games), New York sits just two games out of the second wild-card spot in the AL.
Obviously, the importance of this series for the Yankees is that it will decide whether or not they can continue their magical run. If the team is able to take three of four games or sweep the Red Sox, the Yankees would cut at least two games off of their eight-game hole in the AL East and continue to contend with the Rays.
If the Rays continue to struggle at the plate and lose games, a series win could potentially see the Yankees pull even with them.
How a New York Series Win Affects the Red Sox
Apart from demoralizing the team, a series loss to the Yankees could be devastating for the Red Sox.
Boston has dominated the AL all year but has been slipping of late. The team has a chance to get back to its winning ways against a team that struggled for much of the season, and it needs to take it.
However, if the Red Sox lose three or four games they will leave the door wide open for teams to sneak up on them, and they will also lose a bit of their AL East lead.
A series loss won't end the Red Sox's season, but it certainly won't help their quest for home-field advantage.
How a Boston Series Win Affects the Red Sox
The Red Sox are trying to hold off the surging Detroit Tigers, who are just 2.5 games behind Boston for the best record in the AL.
The Tigers will play the toughest series left on their schedule at the same time the Red Sox play the Yankees, playing the Kansas City Royals on the road.
If the Tigers are going to drop a few games it will be during this series, which means that this is one of the few opportunities for the Red Sox to put some space between themselves and Detroit.
A series win for the Red Sox would not only hold off the Tigers but potentially give the team some breathing room.
How a Boston Series Win Affects the Yankees
The worst thing that could happen to the Yankees right now would be to lose this series against the Red Sox.
Running into the AL's best team doesn't help a club that's trying to put together a late-season run, but that's exactly what is happening to New York.
If the Yankees lose three of four games or get swept, they will not only fall out of contention in the AL East but will also fall further behind the Rays for a wild-card spot—not to mention that it will give the team less time to make up ground.
A series loss would be devastating for the Yanks, but a sweep could doom the team's season.
What Happens If They Split?
There's a very real possibility that both teams take two games in this series. But what happens then?
It's impossible to know what the Rays and Tigers will do while the Yankees and Red Sox do battle, but it comes down to them.
The Red Sox need the Tigers to lose, while the Yankees need the Rays to lose. If either the Tigers or Rays win four straight, that could be devastating for their opponent, as they would gain two games on them. That could put the Rays four games up on the Yankees, or give the Tigers the best record in the AL.
A split wouldn't immediately hurt the Yankees or Red Sox too badly, but the play of their competitors could easily do so.