Vernon Wells and the Yankees are looking forward to battling the BoSox over the weekend.
The Yankees need to win 31 of their remaining 41 games to finish the season with 93 victories, the total manager Joe Girardi figures will get them the second wild-card spot in the AL.
Their margin for error is extremely slim, so the series at Fenway is one they can’t afford to lose.
"It's gonna be a big three-game series. Not [just] the fact that it's a Boston-Yankees series, but the fact that we can gain a lot of ground in the East," Curtis Granderson said. "It's very important for us, but we also have to be cautious [they can also separate themselves even more]. So we have to be ready starting tomorrow. I think the first one's going to be the most important."
The Yankees are 3-6 against the Red Sox this season, but Girardi believes they're a different team with the additions of a healthy Alex Rodriguez, Alfonso Soriano and a healthy Granderson.
"I like our chances," Wells said.
It will be interesting to see the reception Rodriguez receives when he steps into the batter's box for his first at-bat Friday night. He's currently appealing a 211-game suspension for violating baseball's drug policy and is expected to be showered with boos.
"I don't expect anything to be different [than normal]," Granderson said. "It's going to be loud like it always is. It's going to be fun like it always is. And I think everybody is looking forward to it."
Fun for Soriano, especially. The 37-year-old's last taste of Yankees-Red Sox came in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS.
"It's been a long time. I’m happy to be back and happy to play with the Yankees and try to do my job," he said.
Soriano has 14 RBIs in his past three games. He had a season-high tying four hits Thursday.
"I feel comfortable at the plate, I'm seeing the ball good and I'm glad to have an opportunity like this and help the team win," Soriano said.