Red Sox Notes: AL East Race Between Boston, New York Will Go Down To Wire

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The Boston Red Sox had an opportunity to bury the New York Yankees during their four-game series, but instead, the race for the American League East crown will last well into September. And that’s the biggest sign that the rivalry is back.

Boston had a 5.5-game division lead prior to Game 1 of the series, but the Yankees took three out of four from the Sox, including a 9-2 drubbing of Red Sox ace Chris Sale on Sunday night. New York now trails the Red Sox by only 3.5 games in the AL East and looks poised to take the battle into the final weekend of the regular season.

The Red Sox were outscored 21-9 and only tallied 22 hits in the four-game series. Likewise, other than a dominant performance by Doug Fister, the Sox’s starting pitching fell flat in the Bronx as Sale, Drew Pomeranz and Eduardo Rodriguez all were handled with relative ease by the Yankees’ bats.

But now is not the time for the Red Sox to panic. As a matter fact, it’s time for them to forget about their AL East rival for now.

The teams won’t meet again in the regular season, as the Sox finished a disappointing 7-12 against the Bronx Bombers and have been unable to create separation in the AL East.

Boston will have to rebound quickly as it has jut 24 games remaining in the regular season. The Sox appear to have a slightly easier schedule, as they will face the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland Athletics, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles down the stretch. The Yankees, on the other hand, have to contend with the Minnesota Twins and Texas Rangers, as well as the Jays, Orioles and Rays.

If it comes down to the final weekend, the Sox will have a four-game series against the AL-best Houston Astros, while New York will square off with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.

Boston undoubtedly missed an opportunity over the weekend. But with 24 games remaining, the Sox must regain the momentum that fizzled at Yankee Stadium before it’s too late.

Let’s take a look at more notes from Red Sox-Yankees.

— Sale now has a 4.57 ERA since Aug. 1.

— Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis was ejected during the sixth inning of Sunday’s loss after arguing balls and strikes.

— Carson Smith was forced to leave his final rehab start with Triple-A Pawtucket after a line drive struck him in the leg.

Thumbnail photo via Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sport Images

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