NEW YORK -- From the general manager to the manager to the Red Sox's newest stars, the importance of a three-game series against the Yankees, starting on Friday night, was downplayed before the first pitch.
"Every series is important," Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein said. "When you're underperforming as a team, every game becomes increasingly important, and every series is important because that's the game we're playing right now. That's the series we're playing right now. Right now, it doesn't really matter who we're playing; we need to play better baseball. Every night out is an opportunity for us to do that -- play a clean game, execute, set a winning tone going forward."
Yankees manager Joe Girardi said on Friday that he hopes his club gets up to play Boston. Neither team is off to a particularly fast start -- neither was in first place in the American League East heading into the series -- but Sox manager Terry Francona toyed with Girardi's comment before portraying this series as any other.
"First of all, I hope he's wrong," Francona said. "We don't really want to see the best of them. What we try to do -- and I don't think people believe me, and I don't really know why; maybe it's because they haven't played -- but wherever we are, that's what our most important series is. ... We don't get extra credit for winning a game here."