07/28/08 1:34 AM ET
Sox eye groove before next showdown
Plenty of time before club faces rival Yankees in New York
By Ian Browne / MLB.com
Of course, both teams are still chasing the Rays, but not by much. Boston trails Tampa Bay by a game, and New York is three games back.
One can only wonder what the standings will look like when the next rivalry showdown begins on Aug. 26 at Yankee Stadium.
But the Red Sox don't worry about such things. They are in tunnel-vision mode, trying to focus on the task at hand.
"The nice thing is we're getting everybody healthy," said Red Sox center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. "Getting everybody back, everybody healthy, everybody is feeling good. We haven't had that in a while. It's nice to have it."
The next challenge for the Red Sox is the Angels, who come to Fenway Park on Monday night with the best record in baseball. After that, the Athletics come to town for three games.
Then, the Sox go to Kansas City for three games against the Royals and another three against the AL Central-leading White Sox in Chicago. From there, the Red Sox play a six-game homestand against the Rangers and Blue Jays.
Finally, there is a nine-game road trip that starts in Baltimore and Toronto before concluding with Boston's last regular-season visit to Yankee Stadium.
By then, the Red Sox hope to be in the type of groove that has been elusive so far in 2008.
"We haven't had a stretch where this team has really gotten on a real good run, of both health and playing well," said Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek. "That's a good thing to look forward to going into the next couple of months."
With David Ortiz belting a two-run homer in Sunday night's game, the Yankees saw firsthand that the big man with the big bat is now healthy again.
"To be honest with you, I don't really worry about them," said Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. "I don't really concern myself with what they're doing. I worry about our own team, unless we have to play them. Ortiz would make any team better, especially with the way he swung the bat against us. We don't worry about them until they come to Yankee Stadium. We'll go out and play because it's the only thing we can control."
The Red Sox and Yankees will conclude the 2008 regular season with a three-game series at Fenway Park, to be played Sept. 26-28.
Ian Browne is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.