The New York Yankees hold a comfortable five-game lead in the American League Eastern Division with 10 games remaining in the 2011 regular season. They also hold the postseason fates of their closest competitors and rivals, the Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays, in their hands.
That is because, beginning Tuesday night (7:05 p.m. ET, MY9) at Yankee Stadium the Yankees play all of their remaining games against those two teams. Seven of the games will be against Tampa Bay and three against Boston.
It has to be difficult today to be a fan of the Boston Red Sox. The teams is reeling, having watched the Rays slice a nine-game deficit on Sept. 2 down to just two games in the wild-card chase. Plus, over the next couple of weeks Boston fans have to root for the Yankees to slow down the red-hot Rays. That won't be easy for Red Sox Nation to stomach.
The four-game series with Tampa Bay begins tonight with the Yankees sending young Ivan Nova to the mound. Nova, 15-4, 3.81 ERA, has not been beaten in his last 11 decisions dating back to June 3. The Yankees and Rays play a day-night doubleheader on Wednesday and finish the series Thursday night. They finish the season against each other with three games in Tampa Bay.
AL East Standings
American League Wild Card Standings
|Tampa Bay||85||67||.559||2||Won 2|
|Los Angeles||83||70||.542||4.5||Lost 1|
|Kansas City||67||87||.435||21||Lost 1|
(updated 9.20.2011 at 1:41 PM EDT)