In splitting Saturday's doubleheader, the Yankees still give themselves a chance to clinch the division if they can take both ends of Sunday's twin bill. Toronto would also have to lose its game against Tampa Bay for the Yankees to clinch because the Blue Jays could pass Boston in the standings.
But while several Yankees claimed they can't think ahead, or that they could only think of sleep after a long Saturday, it was on Bernie Williams' mind.
"Yeah, absolutely [I'm thinking about it]," he said. "But it's on their mind, too. We cannot throw ourselves out there and expect to win. We have to play hard and they're going to come out there swinging as well. It's going to be hard but I think we have a good chance to get it done."
Jaret Wright, who will take the hill for the Yankees in the day game, is in contention for the fourth and final spot in the Yankees' playoff rotation and may be the leading candidate as of now.
He is 1-0 with a 3.57 ERA in his past two starts and has pitched more than six innings in both, something he hadn't done previously this season.
"We all watched Jaret," manager Joe Torre said. "He used to wiggle off the hook a lot and flirt with danger a lot and that was all based on the fact that he got behind a lot. Now he seems to be throwing a lot of first-pitch strikes."
When the Yankees went to Boston for a five-game series, Wright's spot in the rotation was skipped. He was struggling, likely the most he had all season, and saw just one inning of relief. Now all eyes will be on him to see if he has the stuff to start for the Yankees come October.
"I get hyped up and excited every start," Wright said. "When Boston comes to town, I would prepare and do everything the same if it was any other team. ... I just try to look at it as every five days is a whole season for me."
Mike Mussina, who will start for the Yankees in the nightcap, appears healthy and back to his pre-All Star Game form. He tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings as the Yankees routed Tampa Bay.
In his last start against Boston, he allowed three earned runs in four innings and left early because of tightness in his groin, sending him to the 15-day disabled list.
It was part of a stretch when Mussina surrendered at least three runs in nine of 10 outings and went 4-3. He also struggled with shoulder stiffness after a Sept. 5 start in Kansas City.
BOS: RHP Kyle Snyder (4-4, 6.54 ERA)
Snyder, who was plagued by back pains in his last start, gave up seven hits and five runs in 2 1/3 innings against the White Sox.
NY: RHP Jaret Wright (10-7, 4.60 ERA)
Wright has surrendered just seven home runs in 24 starts this season, the fewest of any pitcher with at least 20 starts.
BOS: RHP Ken Jarvis (0-2, 8.86 ERA)
Jarvis will make the third start with the Red Sox. He allowed five runs in five innings in his last start in a no-decision versus the Royals and has a 12.60 ERA in five career appearances against the Yankees.
NY: RHP Mike Mussina (14-6, 3.59 ERA)
Mussina, who has battled groin and shoulder pain for the past month, tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings against Tampa Bay in his last start.
Player to watch
Melky Cabrera has 10 RBIs in 13 games against the Red Sox this season and has been thrust high in the order. He had three singles in the nightcap on Saturday.
On the Internet
Official game notes
WCBS-AM 880 (Español)
Monday: Yankees (RHP Darrell Rasner, 2-0, 0.77) at Blue Jays (RHP A.J. Burnett, 8-7, 3.90), 7:07 p.m. ET
Tuesday: Yankees (RHP Jeff Karstens, 1-1, 4.08) at Blue Jays (RHP Shaun Marcum, 2-4, 5.43), 7:07 p.m. ET
Wednesday: Yankees (TBA) at Blue Jays (RHP Roy Halladay, 16-5, 3.20), 7:07 p.m. ET