How Yankees can catch Red Sox — and avoid do-or-die disaster

The Red Sox performed their 108th sport of the season Monday night time in opposition to the Phillies. The Yankees will play their 108th sport in opposition to the Red Sox on Friday night time, the day after they arrive in Boston for the primary of a four-game sequence that would be the most intriguing encounter between these historic rivals in effectively over a decade.

One-oh-eight is a major quantity as a result of it formally represents two-thirds of a season. Hard as it might be to fathom, we’re about to enter the ultimate trimester of the yr, a 54-game dash to the tape, and on this yr of American League Superteams, it means 54 video games to avoid a 55th sport.

It isn’t simply the win-or-be-gone stakes that shall be on the desk for whichever group, Yankees or Sox, finishes second within the East. (That actuality itself has sparked conversations in regards to the equity of a group that wins 100-plus video games being required to endure the wild-card-game cauldron, although as exhausting as it might be to swallow on this season it’s a cyclical factor; most groups within the play-in sport should be there.)

No, what’s most fascinating is that, with the Astros beginning to slide ever so little and seeming to settle into the slot because the No. 2 seed, the No. 1 seed — Red Sox or Yankees — will nearly definitely draw the wild-card winner. And whereas something can occur within the wild-card sport, the Sox or Yanks shall be overwhelming favorites to outlive that. So it’s nearly sure to be Sox-Yankees in an abbreviated best-of-five within the ALDS.

But the wild-card group will even doubtless must burn its ace — Chris Sale if it’s the Sox, Luis Severino if it’s the Yankees. And which means the survivor will solely get to throw that ace as soon as in a five-game sequence. Add that to home-field drawback and you’re speaking a few best-case state of affairs the place you’re getting into the ALDS with two strikes in opposition to you earlier than a pitch is thrown in anger.

So these are real stakes dealing with these groups throughout the ultimate third of the season. As such, with that bell lap approaching, listed here are three issues to think about:

1. How does the Yankees schedule arrange?

Favorably. The Yankees kick off a quick two-game sequence with the Orioles Tuesday on the Stadium, and whereas the Yanks are an inexplicable 5-5 in opposition to the O’s so far (versus the Sox, who’re 10-2 in opposition to them) the O’s have been profoundly weakened by deadline offers.

Of the Yankees’ last 58 video games, 35 come in opposition to eight groups (O’s, White Sox, Rangers, Mets, Tigers, Twins, Jays, Marlins) who entered Monday with a mean report of 43-62. They have 16 video games in opposition to three groups (Red Sox, Mariners, A’s) who had mixed common data of 67-39 as play started Monday. And they’ve seven left in opposition to the Rays, who’re precisely at sea degree (53-53).

Logic insists that ought to bode effectively for the Yankees, though thus far this season they haven’t precisely bombarded awful or common groups (they’re 14-14 in opposition to the O’s Rays, Mets, Tigers, Marlins and Rangers, as an illustration) whereas they’ve performed persistently effectively in opposition to good groups (they’re 17-9 within the video games they’ve performed in opposition to first-place groups).

2. How does the Sox schedule arrange?

Not fairly as user-friendly because the Yankees. The Red Sox’s skill to feast on the proliferation of woeful American League groups has helped (they’re 31-9 in opposition to the groups listed above who’ve performed the Yankees even) however that all-you-can-eat buffet begins to get damaged down from right here on in.

Of the Sox’s last 54 video games, nearly half — 26 — come in opposition to 5 groups (Phillies, Yankees, Indians, Braves, Astros) which can be a mean report of 61-44. They have 22 in opposition to 5 groups (Jays, O’s, Marlins, White Sox, Mets) with a mean report of 41-64. And they’ve six left with the break-even Rays.

Logic insists the breakdown ought to make the Sox susceptible for the chilly stretch that has been regarded as inevitable, although thus far they’ve managed to play at the least their first 110 video games having misplaced as many as three in a row solely as soon as.

3. How does the ultimate third of the season form up?

We are formally deep sufficient into the season that we can give you math issues like this one: if the Sox play .500 baseball the remainder of the way in which in a season during which their profitable share getting into Tuesday is .694, it’ll take 103 Yankees wins to overhaul them. That could be daunting if the Yankees themselves weren’t enjoying at a 103 ½-win tempo, with all these winnable video games forward.

It’s too early to start out printing such numbers within the Globe and the Herald, however the fact is the Sox’ magic quantity is now 62. The lead is six. There is a lot baseball nonetheless to be performed. And that is when the enjoyable formally begins. Ring the bell. The last lap approaches.

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