MLB.com Columnist

Richard Justice

Red Sox, Yankees have faced long odds before

Red Sox, Yankees have faced long odds before

So the Yankees and Red Sox both find themselves in 0-2 holes in the American League Division Series presented by Doosan, and both will have to fight off elimination tonight. After all the history and unforgettable moments, from Bucky Dent and Aaron Boone to Dave Roberts and Curt Schilling, two of baseball's most storied franchises are trying a different kind of storyline.

• MLB postseason schedule

What if they're teasing us again? What if this is where things start to get interesting? If the Red Sox and Yankees were to both win three games in a row and meet in the AL Championship Series, it would add another amazing chapter to baseball's most storied rivalry.

Those surely are the thoughts swirling through both clubhouses as they head home to play must-win Games 3s today. The Red Sox will play the Astros at Fenway Park at 2:30 p.m. ET, and the Yankees take on the Indians at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.

"Gotta win, we've gotta win," Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts said. "We've been in this situation last year [down 0-2 to the Indians]. We didn't come through, but I feel like we have a good enough team to overcome that and to come through with the win. It starts by winning one game, and we go from there."

Actually, there's a teensy bit of history working against the Red Sox and Yankees. Of the 40 teams that have faced an 0-2 deficit in the best-of-five ALDS in its current format, only four have come back to win the series. But those comebacks have a Red Sox-Yankees flavor.

Boston has done it twice: in 1999 against the Indians and in 2003 against the A's. Game 5 of the 1999 ALDS included Pedro Martinez's impressive relief turn, when he he struck out eight over six shutout innings for the victory.

Red Sox come back in 1999 ALDS

Those are the only teams in the current format to come back from 0-2 while winning Game 5 on the road, which New York and Boston would each have to do in their respective series to advance.

The Yankees opened a 2001 ALDS against the A's by losing two at home before rallying to win three in a row, finishing with a Game 5 win in the Bronx. That series featured Derek Jeter's famous "Flip Play" to nail the potential tying run at the plate in a 1-0 victory in Game 3.

The flip play

Some may remember the Red Sox have more experience than almost anyone in overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. For instance, in 2004, when they rallied from a 3-0 deficit in the ALCS to beat the Yankees and go on to break an 86-year championship drought.

As for the long odds facing both teams, do you really think either will blink? This is nothing more than an opportunity to make history, which is engrained in the DNA of both franchises.

Game Date Results Highlights
Gm 1 Oct. 5 CLE 4, NYY 0 Watch
Gm 2 Oct. 6 CLE 9, NYY 8 (13) Watch
Gm 3 Oct. 8 NYY 1, CLE 0 Watch
Gm 4 Oct. 9 NYY 7, CLE 3 Watch
Gm 5 Oct. 11 NYY 5, CLE 2 Watch

Both teams are coming home to ballparks that ooze history and expectation. Red Sox fans have come of age knowing Carlton "Pudge" Fisk was right there on the first-base line at Fenway Park when he waved the baseball inside the foul pole in the 1975 World Series. In the Bronx, Yankees fans can point to the spot where Jeter said his farewell by kissing the infield dirt.

The postseason is different in places like this. There's an edginess to the crowds that can rattle nerves and test composure.

At Fenway Park, fans are close enough to be seen, heard and felt. When things start to roll a certain way, the Red Sox feed off the atmosphere.

Yankee Stadium is larger, more cavernous. Ovations sound like thunderclaps rolling across the ballpark, and no matter how many times you've heard about it, there's a postseason intensity that has to be experienced to be understood.

The Indians and Astros may not know all the history, and they may not care. All they know is that a best-of-five series can swing on one inning or one pitch.

For the Red Sox and Yankees, their mission is simple, and players sometimes thrive on simple. Win-or-go-home is as easy to understand as it gets.

"We have talked openly about the resilience," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We know perfectly well where we are in this series. I think we are all looking forward to getting on the field here in front of our home fans at Fenway."

Farrell on going home

The Red Sox have lost a pair of drama-free 8-2 games to the Astros, while the Yankees took a punch-to-the-gut loss Friday in Game 2, letting an 8-3 lead turn into a 9-8 loss in 13 innings.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said his staff "checked the temperatures" of their players after the Game 2 heartbreaker, and they will walk onto the field at Yankee Stadium knowing it could be their final game of the season.

"I don't think that's always the worst mentality to have," Girardi said Saturday. "I think sometimes that can be a good mentality to have. So we will preach to them, just win one game. Win one game tomorrow, and let's see where we're at, and we'll go from there."

Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.