Tonight in the Bronx, it's a battle of 1st place in the AL East as the Yankees and Red Sox will begin their 3rd series of the year. 

1st place New York comes into the 3-game set with a 1-game lead over the Sox.

In my opinion, this series clearly means more for one team.

I think this is a bigger series for the Yankees.

New York is just 1-5 against Boston this season.  They have been outscored 34-24 over those 6 games.

In the first series between the teams in April, Boston came in with an 0-6 record but took 2 of 3 vs. the Yanks.  Then, Boston swept the 3-game series in mid-May.

In the first six meetings this season, the Red Sox have dominated both offensively and defensively.   The Sox have hit .292 while the Yankees managed a .216 batting average.  Boston's ERA is 4.00 while the Yanks' is 6.06.  In fact, New York was shutout twice over these 6 games (that's a third of the time).

Despite Boston's awful start to the season, they're still in the hunt.  At one point this year, Boston started off 0-6.  It was their worst start since 1945.  In fact, no MLB team in history had ever won the World Series after going winless through their first 6 games.

But then a funny thing happened after that 0-6 start.  The Red Sox took got some confidence after taking 2 of 3 at home against the Yankees.  The Yanks had every opportunity to put them away.  They could have buried them earlier in the season but they didn't.  The Red Sox 5-1 record against the Bombers helped them stay afloat.

Boston is starting to hit again.  And their pitching staff is back on track.  So for as good as New York has played all season, they’re only 1 game up on the Sox.

The AL East is a very tight race right now - and I don't just mean between the Yankees and Red Sox.  Just 4 ½ games separates the 4th place Blue Jays from the 1st place Yankees.  Just 6 ½ games separates 1st from last.

You need to win series against your division rivals.  You need to get separation every chance you get. Division records are what matters here.

The Yankees are 33-24 overall and are 13-9 in the AL East while Boston is 10-8 against the East.  If the Yanks win the series; that will give them even more separation.

Again, it's all about distancing yourself from your rivals and the rest of the division - something the Yanks have failed to do so far in 2011.