Boston beat Texas 11-5 last night, sending the Red Sox back into a first-place tie with the Yankees. Adrian Gonzalez had two home runs and John Lackey did a credible job against the Ranger lineup.
As if it needed saying, the AL East division race is going to come down to the bitter end. But should it?
The two teams are 8.5 games up on the Angels. It would take a major fold over the last 36 games (or a typical season by the Mets) to cost the Yanks a playoff spot. Is it worth it then to fight for a division title if it means overplaying the veterans down the stretch?
Joe Girardi said last night that his goal is always home field advantage. That means winning the division. It means treating this division race like a big deal, rather than an issue of semantics.
It also means ignoring first-round matchups. If the season ended today, the AL East winner would play the Detroit Tigers, who sit three games behind Texas. The Tigers are potentially a scarier opponent because of the presence of Justin Verlander.
So while the Yankees lost a tough one last night, feet away from a Nick Swisher grand slam, is it even a big deal?
If you believe it is, and you want the division title and all that comes with it, you’d like to see them come back to take this series from a pretty crummy A’s team. While Oakland can pitch a little pitch, its lineup is dreadful. The fact that they got six runs off Bartolo Colon and company is a bad sign. In four previous games Oakland scored a total of nine runs.
C.C. Sabathia opposes Trevor Cahill tonight. If A-Rod comes back from his sprained thumb then the Yanks have to win this one.