By Dan Roche

BOSTON (CBS) – It was a long day at Fenway on Monday, and it resulted in a split with the Orioles with only eight games to go for the Red Sox.

They remain two games up in the AL Wild Card chase (1 on the loss column) on Tampa Bay.

It now gets interesting because this race can be decided by, of all teams, the New York Yankees.

New York has a five-game lead on the Red Sox in the AL East, so they are comfortable when it comes to their playoff position. They also have a 3 1/2 game advantage over Detroit for the best record in the American League and thus would have home field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

 View: Wild Card Standings

So with that, one would assume Joe Girardi would begin lining up his starting rotation for the playoffs. CC Sabathia is slated to start two more times, Wednesday and Monday, both times against Tampa Bay.

The question is… how long does he pitch, especially in that second game? How does that affect how the Yankees play? Meanwhile, Ivan Nova, who hasn’t lost since early June, starts Tuesday night’s series opener against Tampa, and then Sunday vs the Sox. How long will be go against Boston?

Also, when does Joe Girardi rest out his every day players and who will they be?

The Rays play the Yankees seven times in the final 10 days of the season. The Sox play the Yankees three times.

Read: Dan Roche’s Sports Blog

New York will have a huge say as to which AL East team makes the postseason.

The one thing I do think is, just because Boston is a huge rival, Joe Girardi or any other manager does not want to see Tampa Bay’s young starting rotation make the postseason.

Interesting times. The Red Sox season, although all the blame should be placed on them if they miss October baseball, could come down to their rivals in New York…

  1. The Predictor says:

    It’s a no win situation for the Yankees. Tampa’s pitching and the Yankees inability to dominate the Red Sox will be their demise either way! NY is one-and-done….no matter what, so it really doesn’t matter because they’ll never see the Red Sox or Tampa in the playoffs in 2011 : (

    Sorry NY. You have no #2. You’re out!

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