Neither the New York Yankees nor the Boston Red Sox will be in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years, but that doesn't mean there isn't excitement surrounding their end-of-the-season series.
After getting a day off following his emotional farewell to Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter is expected to return to the lineup at Fenway Park on Saturday for the second-to-last game of his career.Jeter played in his final game in the Bronx on Thursday, delivering an unforgettable walkoff single in the ninth inning to give the Yankees a 6-5 victory over AL East champion Baltimore.The future Hall of Fame shortstop, along with many other regulars, then took the night off in New York's series-opening 3-2 victory Friday."I don't think I really slept -- maybe a couple of hours," Jeter told reporters. "I don't know if I could play tonight if I was playing tonight. Last night was as special as it gets."Even Red Sox fans seemed to be chanting Jeter's name throughout the game in hopes that he might make an appearance. Including the postseason, Jeter has played in 300 games against Boston, batting .288 with 28 homers and 147 RBIs."I think after they won -- I don't want to say they softened up, I would say I think they're kinder," said Jeter, who was greeted warmly by Red Sox fans on the Boston streets Friday. "People were saying, `Congratulations for the career. I'm a Red Sox fan and I hate the Yankees, but I respect you.'"Even when I was walking here through the stands, people were cheering. I remember in 1999, when I was here for the All-Star game ... I remember getting out of the car and I thought they were going to kill me. Funny how things have changed."Manager Joe Girardi said he would let Jeter do whatever he wants this weekend, and the 14-time All-Star said he would bat as designated hitter Saturday and Sunday.Jeter is hitting .236 in 13 games as the DH this season and .304 in 71 over his career. He's batting .342 with nine RBIs over his past nine games and .364 with 12 RBIs in his last 17 at Fenway.This is the first time since before the 1994 strike that at least one of the longtime AL East rivals hasn't reached the postseason. Still, New York (83-77) is hoping to provide Jeter with more lasting memories as it seeks a sixth win in seven meetings with the last-place Red Sox (70-90).The 2000 World Series MVP is 1 for 3 against Joe Kelly (3-2, 4.00 ERA), who seeks his fourth win in five starts. He allowed two runs and three hits over seven innings in Sunday's 3-2 win at Baltimore."Finishing down the stretch, my command of my fastball feels good -- and that's usually the key to my success," said Kelly, who was acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline.In his only career start against New York, the right-hander gave up three runs over 6 2/3 innings in a 9-4 victory at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 2.New York's Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 2.47) makes his second start since missing 10 weeks due to a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He returned with promising results Sunday, surrendering one run over 5 1/3 innings in a 5-2 home win over Toronto."He looked like the same guy I saw earlier this season," Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista said.Tanaka has gone 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA in two starts against the Red Sox. Mike Napoli has two home runs and a double in six at-bats when facing him, while David Ortiz has a homer and double in seven at-bats.Napoli and Ortiz, however, aren't likely to play in the last two games due to injuries.