When it comes to Red Sox-Yankees -- that is, when it comes to the race for the AL East -- every little bit helps.
Every inning. Every game. Every series.
With the two juggernauts throwing billions at each other, the margin for error is tiny. Winning a three-game set late in August/early in September? Huge.
And the Sox have a great chance to do just that Thursday night.
Boston, which overcame a so-so Josh Beckett start to earn a 9-5 win Wednesday, has the momentum -- and more importantly, Jon Lester.
The ace lefty is on the mound Thursday against A.J. Burnett. Lester's beaten New York in two of his three starts against them this year. The one defeat (Aug. 5) came by a 3-2 score, with Lester posting a statistical quality start.
He's 14-6 with a 3.09 ERA overall. The Sox have won Lester's last three starts, in which he's surrendered a total of three earned runs over 19 innings.
Burnett, meanwhile, has faced Boston just once this year. The Sox lit him up for eight runs on seven hits in an 11-6 victory.
Boston holds a 1.5-game lead in the AL East after Wednesday's win.