The upcoming series at Yankee Stadium has been circled on the calendars of Red Sox fans across the world since the schedules were announced this past spring. With memories of last year’s Boston Massacre still fresh in our minds, we looked forward to this series with more than a little bit of dread as we recognized that these three games could potentially break open a pennant race.

This upcoming series also has truly polarized Red Sox fans into the “wide-eyed optimist” and “gloom-and-doomer” camps. A friend of mine pointed out that a Yankees sweep would narrow the hard-fought margin back to just five, continuing the drama of what he is convinced will end up one of the most historic Red Sox collapses we’ve ever seen. I am firmly in the other camp, though: a series victory would stretch the lead to nine games, and a sweep would push it all the way to eleven. The gap hasn’t been that large since before the All Star game.

Why do I realistically think a sweep is in the works? Momentum and matchups.

Yankees starting pitching matchups.

Stick a fork in Mussina. After getting absolutely shelled in his last three outings, including yesterday’s 16-0 drubbing at the hands of the Tigers, it’s clear his stuff isn’t what it used to be.