This has to be it, right? For two teams separated by a half game, what could possibly be more important than a four-game head-to-head series in the final two weeks of the season? The Yankees and Rays played three games against one another last week, and all three were decided by one run. Two were decided in extra innings. There’s little reason to expect something different this week.
“You hope not,” Derek Jeter said. “But I would anticipate it.”
Of course, it’s also interesting to get the opinion of a veteran who’s been through the playoffs but hasn’t been through the larger-than-life drama of New York.
“The East is going to come down to the last week,” Lance Berkman said. “Unless something crazy happens like we win four straight or something like that. In a four-game series, usually if it’s two good teams it’s 2-2 and then we’re right back where we were and nobody gains any ground. And so the last week and a half of the season is going to determine it.”
Based on last week’s series in Tampa Bay, and based on the fact we’re this deep in the season and the race is this close, it’s obvious these teams are evenly matched. They might have very different styles — that picture is of the Rays leaving for the road trip — but both teams pitch well and have explosive lineups that have been known to slump.
“It’s going to be fun coming back and playing a team we’re going to be battling against the last two weeks of the season,” Mark Teixeira said. “There aren’t going to be any blowouts. It’s just two good teams playing against one another. They’re going to be battles.”
Associated Press photo