The Yankees' Gleyber Torres is tagged out by Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez while trying to score on May 8, 2018 at Yankee Stadium.

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Yankees, Red Sox Look To Make Statement In Tight AL East Race

June 29, 2018 - 9:38 am
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By WFAN.com

Following a day off Thursday, the Yankees welcome the Red Sox to town for a weekend series in the Bronx with the top spot in the AL East on the line.

The Yankees are coming off a slight skid, having lost four of their last six and failing to complete the series sweep against the Phillies with a 3-0 loss Wednesday.

The Bombers are getting set for a fight with their division foes, as the excitement in New York should be palpable.

“It’s always a battle with those guys, whether we’re at the stadium or whether we’re up at Fenway,” Brett Gardner said in anticipation of the weekend series with Boston. “I’m sure it’ll be a great atmosphere.

“We’ve been within a game or two of them, it seems like, all year,” Gardner added. “It’ll probably be that way for the next few months, too.”

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The Yankees and Red Sox have separated themselves as the class of the AL East and the rivalry is at an all-time high, as the two sides will likely fight for the division lead all summer long. The Red Sox (55-27) currently have a one-game lead on the Yanks (52-26)

“I look at it as a really good opponent chasing after the same thing we’re after,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Red Sox. You kind of embrace the competition of it.”

CC Sabathia (4-3, 3.18), who will be pitching on seven days' rest, is set to throw against Eduardo Rodriguez (9-2, 3.86) on Friday night.

Chris Sale (7-4, 2.56) will match up with Sonny Gray (5-5, 4.93) on Saturday, with Gray also throwing on two extra days of rest.

The series wraps up Sunday night with Yankees ace Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10) on the bump against David Price (9-5, 3.66).

Price jokingly remarked earlier this week that he “wouldn’t be able to go” this weekend due to his affinity for the popular video game "Fortnite," which might to blame for his carpal tunnel syndrome.

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The Yankees may look to make a move at first base before the series, as Neil Walker and Greg Bird continue to struggle with batting averages below  .200. The Yankees have options in Triple-A with the right-handed-hitting Tyler Austin and Brandon Drury available.

“It’s possible. Those are things we’ll discuss over the next day and a half with what we want to do and how we shape the roster going into the weekend,” Aaron Boone said of potentially making a roster move at first base.

Austin made headlines in the first Yankees-Red Sox for inciting a benches-clearing brawl after he charged the mound because he was hit by a Joe Kelly fastball.

The two sides have split the first six games of their 19 matchups this season. After this weekend, the rivalry will move to Boston on Aug. 2 for a four-game series after the trade deadline.