Entering last week in Major League Baseball the Boston Red Sox held a 4.5-game lead over the new york yankees in the American League East. The Red Sox' schedule was full between Monday and Sunday, but unfortunately for Boston, they don't have much to show for the seven games they played. The Bo Sox went just 2-5 over the last week with a few losing scores in the mix that were egregious.

In a game at Cleveland, the Sox lost 13-6 and then followed that up with a 16-3 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. Boston would end up swept at Fenway Park to the Orioles, a team that was below .500 entering the series.

That sweep included a close game, but it also included a 7-0 fiasco. The result does little for Baltimore in the east, but the O's can still entertain some wild-card hopes.

New York gained two games

Meanwhile, the New York Yankees did not have a poor week. Winners of two straight, it was New York that posted the big scoring lines in their games this weekend. They defeated the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Sunday and in doing so the pennant race in the Al East is back to being an item. New York enters the week just 2.5 games behind Boston. Both teams have a legit back door into the post-season as the 2nd-placed team in the AL East looks like a promising prospect for the wild-card game. However, both teams will be keen on avoiding that coin toss and to book their spots directly in the divisional round with the divisional pennant.

Games are getting bigger

With September practically here the margin of error is certainly getting slimmer in the majors. Boston, after getting swept at home, will now head out on the road for two series this upcoming week. The first will be against the Toronto Blue Jays, a team that's barely alive in the playoff picture and seems resigned in some ways.

However, Toronto is a 35-31 team from home so Boston's poor stretch may yet continue as they are in danger of dropping 2 of 3 to the Jays.

The Yankees themselves don't have an easy series directly in front of them. They will be at home, and they have to like that given that they are 14 games above .500 this season when hosting.

But with Cleveland coming to town the Yankees will have to work hard to take two of three off of the Indians.

So long as Boston's divisional lead doesn't drastically increase there is a major showdown looming. Boston and New York will play what is starting to look like an enormous four-game series to conclude the month and to start September. That series has to be in the back of everyone's mind with the two franchises. It will mark the last head-to-head series between the two clubs in the regular season.

If the Yankees should gain a game on Boston between now and the start of the series, then certainly the series will have major swing potential in the standings. However, neither team can afford to look further than the games in front of them right now.

That said, certainly, both managers will be looking to set the bullpen up, so the starting pitching will be key on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday as the Yanks and Red Sox prepare for a pivotal series against one another later this week and over next weekend.