After facing off against the AL East rivals in New York
and Boston, the Red Sox manager can't help but respect their game — so much so that Valentine believes the Yankees could create some serious noise in the
"I haven't watched them that much, but they're a
very talented team, and they've gotten contributions from a lot of different
guys in the lineup, from their bench," Valentine said. "That's very
important this time of year. They're built to play right through September, and
it seems like they're rising to the occasion. A lot of close games, it seems,
but you guys know that stuff better than me."
The Yankees are sure to be bolstered by the return of
Mark Teixeira, who missed 30 of the team's last 31 games with a calf strain.
Monday's game marked just the second time the first baseman and Alex Rodriguez have
been in the same lineup since July 24.
Without Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia in the lineup,
Valentine still hopes his team will spoil New York's playoff positioning. But
the skipper clearly emphasized that wasn't Boston's ultimate goal.
"I'd like to play the best game we can possibly
play," Valentine said. "If it turns out we're winning at the end, I
know that will make our team feel a little better because we haven't won in a
while, and it'll make our fans feel a lot better. That's the reason we play."
Regardless, Valentine admires the Yankees' potential.