Red Sox Cannot Afford To Leave Door Open For Yankees

Jeffrey MannCorrespondent IAugust 26, 2008

We all know how crazy a year it has been in the AL east. With Tampa Bay still leading by 4.5 games, it's a race with the Twins for the wild card for these traditional AL east powerhouses. As we come to the beginning of the stretch run, the Red Sox are faced with their most important series of the season thus far.

In what might be the last trip the club makes to Yankee stadium, they are in a virtual must win situation. Lose the series, and they could give the Yankees a glimmer of hope of catching the Sox and reaching the playoffs. Just enough hope to plaster on the New York tabloids, enough to make rabid Yankee fans talk about 1978.

Should the Red Sox not manage to win this series, they will have to lean on the scheduling advantage they have to close out the season. 17 of their last 26 games are at home, opposed to the Yankees only having 10 home games in September.

The Yankees begin the month with a grueling 10 game road trip to Tampa and the west coast. They finish with a trip to Toronto and then on to Boston.

The Red Sox don't want a playoff spot to be in the balance for the rematch of this series, they would rather close the season playing their backups against the Yankees at Fenway. All they have to do is stay ahead of Minnesota and put New York away now, and they'll punch their ticket to the postseason.