The Red Sox still will win the American League East.
If it doesn’t happen Thursday night, it will happen soon thereafter.
But Yankees’ fans spending the summer feeling their team had no chance at beating the Red Sox should the clubs meet in a Division Series likely sat up and took notice the last two nights.
The Yankees won a second straight game against their rival Wednesday, this one a 10-1 blowout in front of 43,297 at the Stadium.
“We want to take it to these guys because, obviously, probably down the line in the playoffs we’re going to face them again,” said first baseman Luke Voit, who had a career-high four hits, including two homers. “We want to get hot at the right time going into those games.”
The wins provided a road map that could lead to a possible upset.
Tuesday it was J.A. Happ doing what he usually does to the Red Sox — pitch well against them — with Boston’s brutal bullpen taking it on the chin.
Wednesday it was Luis Severino perhaps finally turning his second half around and David Price, while not as awful as he usually is at the Stadium, still far from good.
Add Voit’s homers, as well as one from Miguel Andujar, who hit his 25th of the year, and the possibility of an October victory comes into focus.
It begins with Severino (18-4, 3.38 ERA), who had an 11-game stretch from July 7 to Sept. 5 in which he went 4-5 with a 6.83 ERA. But his previous start Sept. 12 in Minneapolis gave the Yankees hope a turnaround was on the horizon as he allowed one run and four hits over 5 2/3 innings.
The righthander was terrific Wednesday, allowing one run, six hits and a walk, striking out six in seven innings, his longest outing since lasting seven innings Aug. 8 against the White Sox.
“A really exciting outing from him,” Aaron Boone said.
With Masahiro Tanaka, Thursday’s starter, or Happ likely to get the wild-card game start and the other probably going in Game 1 of a possible Division Series, that would mean a start for Severino in Game 2.
Voit, whose performance since late August has relegated Greg Bird to the bench, went 4-for-4, the two homers giving him nine as a Yankee. The 27-year-old, acquired along with international pool money from St. Louis on July 28 for Chasen Shreve and Giovanny Gallegos, could become the 12th Yankee to reach 10 homers this season, which would be a major-league record.
His solo shot off Price in the fourth gave the Yankees a 4-0 lead and his two-run shot in the sixth made it 6-1.
“It doesn’t get any better than that, especially doing it against Boston, our biggest rival,” Voit said.
The Yankees tagged Joe Kelly, another reliever they routinely hit, for two more runs in the inning to blow it open at 8-1. Bird, pinch hitting for Aaron Judge, had an RBI groundout in the eighth and Aaron Hicks’ RBI single the same inning made it 10-1.
Top pitching prospect Justus Sheffield made his big-league debut in the ninth and loaded the bases with one out but got a double play off the bat of Mookie Betts to end it.
Price, meanwhile, made his first Stadium appearance since July 1, when he allowed five home runs over 3 1/3 innings of an 8-0 loss. The lefthander, who came in 15-6 with a 3.42 ERA, including 5-0 with a 1.56 ERA in his last nine starts, limited the Yankees to three homers Wednesday. Price, who brought a 4.69 career ERA at the Stadium into the night, allowed six runs (four earned) and five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
“Every time we step on the field we want to win games,” said Aaron Hicks, who went 2-for-5 with three RBIs. “We want to show teams we’re a hard team to beat.”