With the trade deadline officially having come and gone, the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are officially in the stretch run of the 2018 MLB season.
And what better way to kick off the final act of the year than with a four-game tilt between two of the most bitter rivals in all of sports?
The Yankees and Red Sox will meet at Fenway Park beginning tonight in a series that could very well settle the race for the American League East title already.
Boston has been the hottest team in baseball as of late and the best. A 26-8 stretch has the Red Sox possessing an MLB-best 75 wins while no one else in the majors has 70 victories.
J.D. Martinez is the American League MVP frontrunner in his first year at Fenway as he's batting .323 with 32 home runs and 89 RBI. He's pacing a Red Sox offense that ranks tops in the majors and also features Mookie Betts, who has mashed 25 home runs of his own with a .338 batting average.
The Yankees have attempted to keep up with the red-hot Sox, but are on the verge of falling out of contention. but another bad loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday has them sitting 5.5 games back.
An Aaron Judge-less offense has performed decently enough over the past week, though the competition has been nothing to write home about in the Kansas City Royals and Orioles.
But it's the pitching that has provided the biggest concern as Luis Severino's struggles (8.84 ERA in last four starts) have added to question marks in a less-than-impressive rotation.
New York made the necessary moves to bolster the staff by acquiring J.A. Happ from the Toronto Blue Jays and Lance Lynn from the Minnesota Twins, the latter giving the team an opportunity to lift Sonny Gray from the rotation after yet another poor start on Wednesday.
Both Happ and Lynn have had success against the Red Sox throughout their careers, which is likely a big reason as to why they were brought in before the trade deadline.
In his last 10 starts against the Red Sox, Happ has a 1.78 ERA with 45 strikeouts compared to just 18 walks while opponents are batting just .202 against him.
Lynn, who hasn't faced Boston nearly as much, has allowed just two earned runs in 11 innings of work against the Red Sox this year.
Happ might not be available for the series, though, after contracting hand, foot and mouth disease, the same ailment that sidelined New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard. As of Thursday, he is still slated to make his scheduled start. Lynn is not expected to appear during this series.
The Red Sox have some pitching worries of their own now as they will be without their ace Chris Sale, who was put on the 10-day disabled list on Tuesday because of inflammation in his left shoulder.
Yankees vs. Red Sox viewing inforation: Aug. 2-5
Thursday, Aug 2
Pitching matchup: CC Sabathia (NYY) v. Brian Johnson (BOS)
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
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TV: YES, NESN
Free Live Stream: fuboTV
Friday, Aug 3
Pitching matchup: Luis Severino (NYY) v. Rick Porcello (BOS)
Time: 7:10 p.m.
TV: WPIX, NESN
Free Live Stream: fuboTV
Saturday, Aug. 4
Pitching matchup: J.A. Happ (NYY) v. Nathan Eovaldi (BOS)
Time: 4:05 p.m.
TV: YES, FS1, NESN
Sunday, Aug. 5
Pitching matchup: Masahiro Tanaka (NYY) v. David Price (BOS)
Time: 8:08 p.m.