The New York Yankees expect to have Mark Teixeira back in the lineup on Monday when they close out their regular season with the first of three games against the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
New York clinched at least a wild card spot on Sunday with Los Angeles' loss to Texas, but the Yankees enter the final week tied with the Baltimore Orioles atop the American League East standings. Baltimore caps its campaign against the Tampa Bay Rays.
"Our club knows what we have to do," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been that way the whole month. We just have to go out and win games -- that's the bottom line."
New York, which will be in the postseason for the 17th time in the last 18 seasons, won a thrilling game on Sunday, as it rallied from four runs down and scored eight times over the final four innings to earn a 9-6 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
"You just try to put guys on and hope guys come through," said Girardi about the comeback. "It's a big win for us, to rally and come through in that situation."
Now the Yankees get back Teixeira, who has played just one game since Aug. 27 because of a calf injury. He is fourth on the team in homers (23) and RBI (81).
"It's the first time we'll have our whole lineup for a long time, which is really good," Girardi said. "It will make our lineup different. You think about (fewer) lefties being stacked together, too."
The Yankees hope CC Sabathia can continue his resurgence, as he tries to string back-to-back wins together. After going five starts without a win (0-3), Sabathia has put together a pair of nice outings, allowing just a two runs in his last two starts.
Sabathia beat the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday, holding them to two runs and striking out 10 in eight innings. He had tossed eight scoreless innings his previous time out.
However, he's 1-4 with a 6.81 ERA in six starts against Boston over the last two years.
Boston, meanwhile, is in the midst of its first 90-loss season since 1966 after getting swept by the Orioles this weekend. The Red Sox enter this set having dropped five straight, nine of 10, and are a major league-worst 7-23 since Aug. 28.
"We haven't had a good season," manager Bobby Valentine recently said.
The Red Sox will pin their hopes Monday on righty Clay Buchholz, who is 11-7 with a 4.22 ERA. Buchholz is winless in his last seven starts and lost to Tampa Bay on Tuesday, as he gave up five runs (4 earned) and eight hits in six innings.
Buchholz served up five home runs in a loss to the Yanks the last time he faced them and is 2-4 with a 5.84 ERA in eight starts against them.
New York is 10-5 against the Red Sox this season.