Eduardo Rodriguez, you have the honors. He'll kick off the key series of the weekend on Friday night when the Boston Red Sox start a three-game set against the New York Yankees. He's arguably the weakest link in the rotation this weekend, but he is going up against the other team's weakest link as well. If fans want to see offense during this classic American League East rivalry, Friday night may be the best chance for fireworks.

Rodriguez vs. Jaime Garcia

That's the matchup for Friday night's opener at Yankee Stadium. It's not the sexiest pitching duel of the weekend.

Rodriguez is coming off of a solid start against the Chicago White Sox, though. He pitched six innings and gave up just two earned runs, the least amount he's surrendered since May. The Red Sox will hope that he can be serviceable against Garcia, who was knocked around for five runs in his only start for the Yankees so far.

Rodriguez failed to record a quality start in the four games before his outing against Chicago, so the Red Sox hope he can carry some momentum from that start into Friday. He's 4-3 with a 4.08 ERA this season, good for a WAR of 1.1. That would be the best since his rookie season in 2015 if he can maintain it. He has not faced the Yankees yet this season, so he has a big test coming up against one of baseball's most high-powered offenses.

Other Red Sox starters this weekend

After Rodriguez gets things started on Friday, the Red Sox will throw Drew Pomeranz against Luis Severino on Saturday afternoon. Pomeranz is 11-4 with a 3.36 ERA this season, but Severino has been a tad better. The advantage on Sunday night belongs firmly to Boston, however, as ace, Chris Sale will look to continue his Cy Young caliber season against young Yankees starter Jordan Montgomery; Sale is 14-4 with a 2.57 ERA and approximately one trillion strikeouts during his first campaign with the team.

The importance of this weekend's series can not be overstated. If the Yankees lose to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night (they're down 4-0 in the eighth inning as of this writing), they will trail Boston for the AL East crown in the loss column by four games.

Each team will have 48 games left this season. The Red Sox are riding an eight game winning streak into the series; if they can take two of three, or all three, the race is all but over. If the Yankees sweep, however, there's suddenly just a one game difference between the rivals in the standings.