My guess is this weekend, barring a sweep by either team, is going to be over-covered, over-emphasized, over-everythinged. Last night’s loss by the Red Sox should adjust, in my opinion, the Red Sox’ attitude towards the rest of the season. Even with an improbable sweep they will still be behind the Bombers, with a week to go.
To wit: an unlikely sweep by the Sox would do one thing: put the division up for grabs (and we already know how valuable that is – not very). A sweep by the Yankees would have far greater implications: it could, conceivably, put the Red Sox’ playoff hopes on thin ice (this is my own worst-case scenario, obviously). Either team wins two of three, which I think is a reasonable expectation, and the following happens: the division is decided, the Red Sox’ playoff chances are solidified. This weekend, barring injury or some other world-shaking event, may have almost no impact on the future post-season accomplishments of either team. Both the Red Sox and the Yankees are past the point of intimidation – I think it’s fair to say that neither team is scared of the other.
So this is what should happen over the weekend (though if one team takes the first two games, my post is rendered somewhat moot): on Sunday both teams should begin setting themselves up for the post-season, by arranging rotations, by keeping certain players rested, by watching their bullpens and not overusing any single player. They should be gettting the 24th man on the roster playing time, they should be fine-tuning. They should be watching the AL West and the Twins, getting ready for their more important post-season opponent. This series is not that big a deal (barring the aforementioned sweep, of course), and I await an hyperbolic press corps, covering this series like it’s the “War in the Fens”. It’s not. Either team takes 2 of 3 and the world is the same as it is now, the series is rendered meaningless.