BOSTON — Since Ryan Dempster beaned Alex Rodriguez in front of a national audience Aug. 18 on Sunday Night Baseball, the Yankees have gone 12-5 and climbed back in the playoff hunt.
New York enters play today two games out of the second Wild Card spot.
The Yanks and Sox begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium tonight. A productive weekend for the Yankees could put them back in the AL East race and set up what would be an extremely interesting Friday, Saturday and Sunday here next weekend at Fenway Park when the two rivals meet for the final time this regular season.
The A-Rod beaning not only revived the then-stagnant Red Sox/Yankees rivalry but also New York. The Yankees have come out of the coffin since — but having Rodriguez and Derek Jeter back from injuries and Alfonso Soriano added to the lineup certainly is the more likely reason for the turnaround.
The Red Sox crushed the Tigers 20-4 here at Fenway Park last night behind Will Middlebrooks’ second career grand slam and David Ortiz’s 2,000th career hit, a double, and two very long homers.
The Yankees, meanwhile, won 6-5 over the Chicago White Sox.
The Yanks have only a 19.1 percent chance of making the postseason but they have a pulse. They refuse to go away.
Both the Yanks and Sox are playing so well right now, it’s difficult to predict how the series will turn out.
Understandably, the football game (Pats/Bills, a more predictable game) will trump the baseball game Sunday in the ratings war, but the series finale between Jon Lester and Hiroki Kuroda should be a dandy and should mark the culmination of an eventful and possibly testy four days. It could perhaps involve a Red Sox batter being beaned in retaliation for what happened to A-Rod.