Red Sox and Yankees in Typical September Position
September baseball is underway and the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are in their typical September position. The Yankees currently hold a 2 1/2 game lead over the Red Sox in the AL East division. Meanwhile, the Red Sox have a commanding 7 game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL Wild Card race. This is commonplace for both teams.
Since 1993, either one or both teams have made the playoffs every year (except for the 1994 lockout season). So it's no surprise that both teams are atop the American League again. A good reason for their success may be attributed to the vast sums of money each team spends on payroll every year.
The 2011 season has been no exception. The Yankees, who have had the highest payroll in baseball since 1998 (Baltimore Orioles), continue spending large amounts of money (~$202 Million circa 2011) to chase World Series Championships. The Red Sox, realizing if they don't spend money as well may never have a chance in the AL East again, have also bolstered their payroll (~$161 Million circa 2011). With all that money being spent, the question remaining is, "Who will win the AL East this season?"
With just a single 3-game series left between them, September 23-25, each team controls their own destiny. New York has been coming on strong lately, going 8-2 over the past 10 games. Boston on the other hand, is withering away, going 4-6 in their last 10 games. I believe the Yankees will hold on to win the division, but Boston will secure the Wild Card spot, regardless of their recent woes. This rivalry looks to be heading into the postseason with some October baseball drama.