The sizzling Red Sox will be without Xander Bogaerts for 10-14 days as the rival New York Yankees come to Boston to begin the latest installment in the rivalry.
But for the Red Sox, the news could have been a lot worse.
A lot worse.
Bogaerts injured his left ankle sliding into the visitors' dugout chasing an errant throw Sunday. Unable to get off the field on his own, he was helped to the clubhouse and the home fans feared the worst.
On Monday, the club placed Bogaerts, off to a hot start, on the 10-day disabled list and said the shortstop will be out with a small crack in the talus bone. No surgery is required.
Brock Holt replaced Bogaerts in the game and the Red Sox recalled infielder Tzu-We Lin from Triple-A in time for the three-game series with the struggling Yankees that starts Tuesday night.
The Red Sox (8-1) rallied to their eighth straight victory Sunday. The Yankees fell to 4-5 with a 12-inning loss to the Baltimore Orioles in the Bronx.
Aaron Boone became a permanent part of one of sports' great rivalries on Oct. 16, 2003, when he homered off Tim Wakefield and sent the Yankees to the World Series.
Now, the rookie manager rejoins the rivalry as the Yankees visit for three chilly night games.
"I hear about it all the time," Boone said Sunday. "I heard about it on the ride into the ballpark from our Uber driver, he had a story involved.
"In a lot of ways, it probably does define my career to fans or people that don't know me or whatever. And I'm looking forward to getting up to Boston. It's a special thing to be a part of.
"Getting a taste of that as a player, you realize how special it is, what a big deal it is, kind of what an honor it is to compete in those games."
As far as how people in Boston have treated him since he joined Bucky Dent as light-hitting infielders to KO the Red Sox, Boone said, "I've been treated really well there. I've kind of said since they've won as much as they have since '04, I feel like a lot of the ribbing I get up there is a little more good-natured. At least that's how it appears to me and the organization has treated me very well.
"I'm sure that now I'm back in uniform it won't be as good-natured and that's part of it."
The Yankees have more on their minds than the rivalry coming into this series. They're battered and bruised, Giancarlo Stanton has already struck out 20 times -- including two five-K games on a just-completed six-game homestand -- and the Red Sox are off to the best start in franchise history.
On Sunday, Boston scored six runs with two outs in the eighth inning to overcome the Tampa Bay Rays.
"It takes one at a time and that's our mindset," Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts said after the latest win. "We just kind of grinded through at-bats. (Alex Colome's) a tough pitcher, but he left some pitches up today and we were able to put some good swings on it."
Both rivals have lined up their pitching best in this series -- even though the Yankees hadn't named a starter to replace the disabled CC Sabathia in Thursday night's finale.
On Tuesday night, Luis Severino, off to a 2-0 start with a 1.38 ERA, faces Chris Sale, a hard-luck 0-0 with an 0.82 ERA. On Wednesday, it's Masahiro Tanaka (1-1, 2.92) for the visitors and David Price (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Red Sox. Rick Porcello (2-0, 2.84 ERA) goes for Boston on Thursday.
Severino is 2-4 with a 4.32 ERA against the Red Sox in his short career, but he was 2-1 against Boston in his breakout 2017. Sale was 0-3 with a 2.65 ERA in five starts against the Yankees in 2017 -- after going 4-1 against New York while with the Chicago White Sox.
Boston's Andrew Benintendi is 6-for-14 (.429) with two homers and seven RBIs against Benintendi, and Mitch Moreland is 4-for-12 (.333). But Sandy Leon is 1-for-10 (.100), Holt 1-for-7 (.143), Hanley Ramirez 4-for-19 with nine strikeouts (.211), Jackie Bradley Jr. 3-for-14 (.214) and Mookie Betts 4-for-17 (.235).
For the Yankees, injured Aaron Hicks, who was set for a rehab start Monday night and could rejoin the Yankees in Boston, is 8-for-23 (.348) against Sale, but he's the only current Yankees player with any success against the skinny left-hander -- this Yankees group hits a combined .183 with one homer in 126 at-bats against Sale.
Aaron Judge heads the futility list, coming in 0-for-12 with 10 strikeouts against Sale. Brett Gardner is 4-for-23 (.174) and Gary Sanchez 3-for-17 (.176) with seven strikeouts.
Sanchez, off to a dreadful start at the plate, missed the last two games with a sore calf, but he hopes to play Tuesday night.