The 2018 season hasn't gone quite as hoped for the New York Yankees. Just about everyone expected the final two showdowns between the Yankees and Boston Red Sox would be very meaningful in the scramble for the AL East. Unfortunately, the AL East has been dominated by the Red Sox for almost the entire season. But to think the importance of this series in New York wouldn't be at a high level, then you're sorely mistaken. This series has the potential to affect the American League postseason picture in a huge, drastic way.
What it means to the Yankees
This series will go a long way towards deciding the destination of the AL Wild Card game. With the Oakland Athletics hot on their tail, the Yankees desperately need a series win to stay ahead of the A's and move one step closer to ensuring they have home-field advantage in the win or go home game on October 3rd. Although, if they fail to take this series from Boston, there's cause for concern about whether the Yankees can fly across the country and beat a hungry Oakland team in a hostile environment.
The Yankees got some superb news regarding a few of their key pieces. Aaron Judge is officially back in the lineup, playing right field and hitting second for the Yankees on Tuesday, his first appearance in the lineup since he was hit by Royals starter Jake Junis back on July 26th. Aroldis Chapman, who appeared in a simulated game, threw 22 pitches with no reported issues. Chapman may still be a few days away from appearing in a regular season game. Regardless, to get two of the most important players on the team back onto the field would be tremendous news for a team in need of a big run in the final two weeks of the season.
What it means to the Red Sox
A series win for the Red Sox would officially deem them champions of the AL East. Which, although it wouldn't be a surprise, would still be great news for a team who's looked forward to winning its third consecutive AL East title. Boston would also love to get a few convincing wins on the road against their biggest rival, and there's never a bad time to get some motivation from beating a team that most people believed would be better than you this season.
Boston will also root for one of their own to have a huge series this week. JD Martinez, who ranks second in batting average and home runs, and also the AL leader in runs batted in, has a real possibility to overtake the lead in average and home runs if he can somehow go from MVP candidate to otherworldly talent for the final games of 2018. He'd be the first player since Miguel Cabrera in 2012 to win the Triple Crown and only second since Red Sox legend Carl Yastrzemski in 1967.
What to expect
This should turn out to be must-see tv, with a lot of potential consequences. Both teams expect to fight tooth and nail, grinding out at-bats and giving it their all on the field. As is almost always the case when these two powerhouses go toe to toe with one another. For the Yankees, this is certainly do-or-die time, they need to ensure that the 2018 AL Wild Card game is played under the lights at Yankee Stadium. For the Red Sox, this is their chance to stick it to the Yankees on the road and silence the crowd. Oh, and also win another AL East title and move closer to achieving home-field advantage throughout the postseason. Strap yourselves in, because this will be a very fun series.