Boston’s hopes of achieving a fourth straight postseason appearance might be slim, but the Red Sox could have a say in determining the playoff status of the rival New York Yankees.
Boston’s 10-8 win over New York (92-62) on Friday dropped the Yankees one-half game behind Tampa Bay in the AL East. New York had a 2 1/2-game lead Tuesday, but has allowed 27 runs to the Rays and Red Sox the last three contests.
The Yankees, losers of 12 of 18, can clinch a postseason berth by winning the final two games of this set. However, that might not be easy against a desperate Red Sox (85-68) club that is seven games behind the Rays and 6 1/2 back of the Yankees for the wild card.
The rivals meet five more times, including next weekend at Fenway Park to close the regular season.
Lester (18-8, 3.06 ERA) has given the Red Sox a chance to win a lot lately.
The left-hander has a 2.12 ERA over his last five starts. He is in position to become the AL’s second 19-game winner after giving up four hits in seven innings of a 6-0 win over Toronto on Sunday.
“I just have to go out there and keep executing,” said Lester, who has allowed three runs and struck out 26 in 21 innings over his last three starts.
Lester is 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA in 11 starts versus New York, including 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA in three this season. He improved to 3-1 with a 2.35 ERA in six starts in the Bronx after he allowed four hits in 6 1-3 scoreless innings of a 2-1 win Aug. 9.
Three of Alex Rodriguez’s(notes) six hits in 24 at-bats against Lester have left the park. The Yankees’ slugger homered twice Friday, giving him 610 to pass Sammy Sosa for sixth place on the career list. He is batting .340 with four homers and 12 RBIs versus Boston this season.
The right-hander has a 5.57 ERA while not factoring in the decision of his last four starts since beating the White Sox for his first win Aug. 29.
“I’m doing something I’m not supposed to be doing, and I have to figure it out,” Nova told the Yankees’ official website.
He allowed three runs and three hits in 5 2-3 innings of an 8-6 win over Tampa Bay on Monday.