NEW YORK -- The prospect of taking on the division-leading Yankees may not sound appetizing for the Red Sox, who have lost two in a row and can't seem to reach the .500 mark -- much less hurdle past it.
Then again, maybe the Yankees are the perfect elixir for what ails the Red Sox.
Think back a month ago, when the Red Sox returned from an 0-6 road trip to start the season and wondered what sort of reception they'd get in the home opener.
The Red Sox took two of three from the Yankees that weekend and got a terrific start from Josh Beckett in the series finale that seemed to catapult Beckett into his current string of strong outings.
That series seemed to stabilize things a bit, though the Red Sox went on to lose two of their next three games.
Perhaps the Red Sox need some urgency, some cold slap in the face that the season is slipping. When they return home to Fenway late Sunday night, the schedule will be almost exactly one-quarter complete.
If that fact of life doesn't get the Red Sox' attention, the presence of the Yankees might.
In past years, the Red Sox have suffered letdowns after showdown series with their rivals. Maybe this season, the process has been reversed and the Sox need the presence of the Yanks to be fully motivated and engaged.
The Yankees and Red Sox have had a bizarre, symbiotic relationship since at least 2003, each measuring against the other. This weekend could be the perfect time for the Sox to take notice of the standings and do something about it.