Of course, the Sox have a chance to be the spoilers down the stretch since the clubs have six games remaining against each other in the last week of the season. Unlike years past, when the Sox and Yankees have battle for the top spot in the division, this season it’s the Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays.
New York wants nothing less than the division title, especially since each time the Yankees have entered the postseason as the wild-card winner (1995, 1997 and 2007) they have not advanced past the first round. Since 1995, the Yankees have entered the postseason as the division leader 11 times and have won at least one series eight times, reached the World Series seven times and won the Fall Classic five times.
When Red Sox manager Terry Francona was asked about being a “spoiler,” he said he doesn’t think of it in that sense.
“I wish we were eight games up,” Francona said. “I’m not real happy with where we are in the standings, but I didn’t have any different feeling coming to the ballpark today. I love coming to the ballpark, and this is a fun place to play games. I don’t know if it’s any different.
“Nothing really changes," Francona added. "The best way to go about our business is to play good tonight. If we spoil somebody’s chances, if it makes us better, it all comes out the same. If we win, we’re going to be happy. If we lose, we probably didn’t do something right. You can put any adjective on it you want, but I just want us to play good baseball.”