The Yankees have been tiptoeing on the lip of the canyon for quite some time now and there's no team or fan base in the league that would gain more joy from pushing them off the lip than the one in Boston.
Well, in most seasons anyway. This season is the year when people have given up on the Red Sox and the Red Sox have given up on themselves.
There are actually seats available at Fenway Park for this week's series, something that is unthinkable after years of overstuffed houses in the crumbling antique that has alternately been a house of horrors and a pleasing retreat for the Yankees. It was full back in April, when the Yankees came back for a thrilling 15-9 win during Fenway's anniversary celebration and, in hindsight, that was really the moment that the pink-hatted Red Sox faithful should have decided to stay in Quincy for the summer.
Everything's gone wrong in Boston, Bobby Valentine is less popular than Bucky Dent and the team has frantically tried to start moving in a different direction by dumping Kevin Youkilis and Adrian Gonzalez (along with the contracts of Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett). The Red Sox team playing right now is mostly unrecognizable outside of Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, whose whole style of play really looks out of place on the losing team the Red Sox have become.
So there isn't going to be any of the old juice this time around, which makes for a diminished series that is exactly what the Yankees need right now. With Mark Teixeira out for the next two weeks, the starters getting strafed and the lead down to nothing, the last thing the Yankees need is a trip into the tension of a typical Red Sox series.
What they need is three games (with three more coming later this month) against a team that has given up and has the same interest in playing spoiler as they do in taking responsibility for their own play over the last two years. Which is none, because it is much easier to blame managers, fried chicken or whatever else becomes convenient.
So the Yankees can roll into Boston fairly secure with the knowledge that they won't get the fight they got from the Orioles as Hiroki Kuroda tries to get back on track Tuesday night. Curtis Granderson will try to build on his big game Sunday and Nick Swisher will try to come up with a performance that isn't indicative of his October invisibility against a team that doesn't seem to have the slightest interest in stopping them.
It's a bit less exciting than some of the past matchups between the teams, obviously, but there will be room for excitement in the playoffs. Now the Yankees need to take care of the grim business of getting there and they need to do it against a team that gave up a long time ago.
September Yankees-Red Sox series always seem like a gift from the schedulers. It's different this year, but this still feels like a gift for the Yankees.