Red Sox: Misery loves company

Bobby Valentine watches batting practice yesterday.

The Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has had its share of late-season drama. There was 1948 and 1949, when the two teams battled it out in classic pennant races. The seesaw 1978 campaign will never be forgotten, nor will the epic that was the 2004 ALCS.

However, each of those struggles saw both teams vying for supremacy. Rarely does one play spoiler to the other. Such is the case this year as Boston fans can cling to a shred of intrigue in an otherwise horrendous season. Including last night’s series-opener at Fenway Park, the Sox meet the first-place Bombers in six of their final 21 games. While a New York collapse from a 10-game lead on July 18 would not match the magnitude of Boston’s toilet flush last September, it would give some New Englanders a reason to smile come October, especially if the Sox had something to do with it.

While Red Sox fans are hoping the Yanks continue to spiral, New Yorkers look to a few scenarios that may help their team survive:

The schedule

Including three games in woebegone Fenway Park this week, New York plays five of its last seven series against the dregs of the AL (two series against Boston and Toronto and one against Minnesota) and four of its last six series at home.

A-Rod

He’s not the player he once was, but Alex Rodriguez remains a dangerous bat. And a hot one. Since returning from a broken left hand, Rodriguez is batting .308 with two homers, two doubles and six RBIs in seven games.

Pettitte still possible

Can a 40-year-old who has made nine starts since 2010 and is rehabbing a broken ankle make a difference? In the case of Andy Pettitte, yes. The lefty was one of the team’s best starters during his stint earlier this year and has a chance to return for the final push.



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