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SportsColumnistsDavid Lennon

The Yankees are coming! The Yankees are coming!

Yankees manager Aaron Boone looks on from the

Yankees manager Aaron Boone looks on from the field during the eighth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Yankee Stadium on Aug. 16. Boone never gave up on catching the Red Sox, and his Yankees are getting closer to the AL East leaders. Credit: Jim McIsaac

BALTIMORE — Looks as if Bucky Dent could be riding shotgun on this Yankees season after all.

It doesn’t take much for us to stir up the pinstriped ghosts of 1978, and the once-unbeatable Red Sox suddenly looking as vulnerable as a Mike Torrez fastball is more than enough to accomplish that. Same goes for our Boston media colleagues, who no doubt are sounding the sirens to warn of the Yankees’ impending charge.

These last few weeks were supposed to be a victory lap for the Sox on the way to 115 wins. A chance for Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez to polish up their MVP resumes and Chris Sale to zero in on the Cy Young Award.

Meanwhile, the banged-up  Yankees were harassed with questions about their wild-card chances being in jeopardy. The division was considered a lost cause.

But no longer. The AL East race is back on. The Red Sox were swept in a series for the first time all season by the pesky Rays at Tropicana Field, giving them six losses in their last eight games, and the Yankees completed a four-game sweep of the pitiful Orioles with Sunday night’s 5-3 victory.

The Yankees have made up 4 1⁄2 games in eight days, pulling to within six (five in the loss column) before heading back to the Bronx to host the White Sox, one of five sub-.500 teams left on their ledger.

Unlike the 10 1⁄2-game deficit they faced last week, this is totally doable for Aaron Boone & Co. The way the schedule shakes out the rest of the way, the Yankees even control their own destiny.

Stay on this same course, sweep the six games left with the Red Sox — three in the Bronx, then three at Fenway Park to end the regular season — and the Yankees could finish in a place we’d given up on as recently as a week ago: atop the AL East.

“I’ve never stopped believing that was possible,” Boone said Sunday afternoon. “But we’re in the here-and-now. Let’s go out and handle our business.”

And the possibility of winning the division? “I think that’s for you guys to project,” Boone said. “If we play well, we’re capable of ripping off a lot of wins and we’ll see where we are at the end.”

First, let’s take a glance at where they’ve been. The Yankees are 18-11 since Aaron Judge (fractured wrist) went on the disabled list July 27. They also have been missing Gary Sanchez (hamstring strain), Didi Gregorius (bruised heel), Aroldis Chapman (knee tendinitis) and CC Sabathia (knee inflammation).

The trades for J.A. Happ and Lance Lynn, designed to be upgrades on Sonny Gray for the rotation, have worked out better than Brian Cashman could have hoped. The Yankees are 8-1 in their starts, and the two have combined to go 6-1 with a 3.04 ERA.

As for the Red Sox, losing Sale to the DL for the second time in a month because of shoulder inflammation is an ominous sign, especially after their efforts to protect him this season. The resurgent David Price (5-0, 1.50 ERA in his last seven starts) has temporarily lessened the sting of Sale’s absence, but after Luis Severino struck out eight in 5 2⁄3 innings Sunday night to earn his major league-leading 17th victory, the Yankees’ rotation (4.26) topped its Boston counterpart (4.31) in August ERA.

“We’re going to play hard until the end,” Severino said. “I think everybody understands that. We’re not thinking about the Red Sox.”

Looking ahead, the Sox have a slightly tougher schedule. Overall, their opponents’ winning percentage is .484, as compared with .472 for the Yankees. Boston also will face four playoff contenders, including three current division leaders: the Astros, Indians and Braves. The Yankees will face two wild-card combatants next week when they travel to Oakland and Seattle — presumably with Sanchez and Gregorius back on board — but their only division leader will be the Red Sox in those two home-and-home series.

And how about this twist: The Mets could do a major solid for their Bronx buddies by playing spoiler up at Fenway Park for their Sept. 14-16 series.

Imagine that. Todd Frazier and perhaps Jacob deGrom having a hand in the Yankees’ improbable AL East crown. Hal Steinbrenner penning a thank-you note to Jeff Wilpon. Too fun.

So buckle up. This September could be one we never saw coming, and neither did the Red Sox.

New York Sports