Lester once again dominated the Yankees on Saturday afternoon en route to his 19th win of the season, but perhaps more impressively, his sixth career defeat of the Bombers. Following Saturday's masterpiece, Lester is now 6-1 for his career against the Yankees with a 3.28 ERA. Not bad considering the fact the Yankees have been among the best offenses in baseball since Lester has entered the league.
But unless the Red Sox can pull of a miracle — as one baseball writer points out, the Red Sox need to win six of eight, while the Yankees would have to lose all seven of their remaining games — the Sox will be missing out on the playoffs. Conversely, the Yankees will be heading to the playoffs with hopes of defending their World Series crown.
This likely won't sit well with the Red Sox front office who will surely try to improve their ballclub heading into the 2011 season. And for Boston to get back to the postseason, they're going to need to find a way to leap-frog the Yankees.
There will be a bevy of free agents, both position players and pitchers for the Sox to choose from. The position that seems to make most sense in terms of acquiring help would be the outfield. Phillies outfielder Jayson Werth is one of the more attractive names on the market and might fit in well in Boston. Werth has experience playing against the Yankees, too, playing in the World Series against the Bombers when it mattered most.
Another outfielder who wouldn't be afraid of the greatest rivalry in sports is Rays outfielder Carl Crawford. The face of the franchise for years, Crawford hits the market this winter and might be a very attractive option for Boston. He's a .301 lifetime hitter against the Yankees and has stolen 47 bases in just under 140 games.
Those are just a couple of offensive options. There are also options on the mound. While the Red Sox have expressed interest in avoiding the luxury tax, it may be in their best interest to go strong after lefty Cliff Lee. He's the best pitcher on the market and he's a certified Yankee killer. It's also a borderline foregone conclusion he'll be pitching in the Bronx next year.
Even if he struggled against the Yankees, he'd still be worth pursuing just to keep him out of pinstripes and away from New York. Same could be said, albeit to a much lesser extent, about free-agent lefty Ted Lilly, someone else the Yankees have expressed interest in in the past.
And if neither of those work out, there's always Carl Pavano, he of the majestic mustache. Perhaps upper lip hair is to the Yankees what kryptonite was to Superman.
There are always the long shots too. Prince Fielder is someone who always seems to be on the block. And, just for speculation's sake, Adrian Gonzalez has hit a home run against the Yankees.
Although, there is also the whole matter of going through the Rays as well, but that's for another day.
So what's it going to be? Who can the Red Sox get this offseason to be a Yankee killer in the future?
Share your thoughts below.
Saturday, Sept. 25: Which Red Sox player's stock has risen most this season?