The Red Sox are one win away from clinching the American League East division for the third consecutive season, and it can happen on enemy territory.
Boston travels to New York to begin a three-game set against the Yankees on Tuesday, and the Sox need to win just one out of the three to claim the East.
After a 4-3 win over the New York Mets on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park, the Red Sox’s magic number to clinch was down to two. And even though Boston could be celebrating as division champions as early as Tuesday, manager Alex Cora said the moment would be just as special if it were to happen anywhere else.
“We got a chance. We got three shots there. We win one and we clinch,” the skipper said after Sunday’s game, as seen on NESN’s postgame coverage. “I think for me, it was gonna be special if it was New York, or Baltimore, Tampa. This is a special group and we have a chance to finish this off.”
Right fielder Mookie Betts said the team is focused on each game, but knows once it happens, it’s going to be memorable.
“We’ve been doing a good job in focusing on one game at a time,” Betts said after the game. “When that time comes, we’ll enjoy it.”
The Red Sox and Yankees essentially were battling each other for first place in the AL East until recently when Boston began to widen the lead while New York dealt with injuries to plenty of their key players. But with how long Cora, the Sox and their fans have been watching the standings, the skipper will be ready to celebrate when it happens.
“We’ve been looking at the standings and talking about it for a month-and-a-half. And now we got it. We’re right there,” Cora said. “So we’ll be ready for Tuesday and if it happens Tuesday, it’s gonna be a fun night.”
Nathan Eovaldi will take the mound for the Red Sox on Tuesday, while the Yankees will give the ball to J.A. Happ.