My, how times have changed.

Barring a complete and utter collapse, the Red Sox will nail down the American League East title this week. They opened up a seven-game homestand Monday with a five-game lead in the division, and a magic number of three.

Assuming they complete the task at hand, the Sox will win the division in consecutive seasons for the first time. Think about that for a moment. Major League Baseball began divisional play in 1969, and in the ensuing 48 years Boston has never won consecutive division titles.

The Sox stormed into this position on the strength off an 8-1 trip, and a 19-7 record in the last 26 road games. That stretch run on the road, coupled with a 46-28 home record coming into this homestand, has brought the Red Sox within sight of a second straight appearance in the American League Division Series.

Even if the Sox lost every game the rest of the way, and the Yankees went undefeated, Boston would be playoff-bound. They clinched a postseason berth in the wee hours Wednesday when the Angels lost. There was no team-wide celebration for the feat, the bottles of expensive champagne staying on ice until the East was won.

It was a different scene in the Yankees’ clubhouse Saturday night. New York beat the Blue Jays to clinch a wild-card berth, and the party was on. It was interesting to see the Yankees celebrate an accomplishment that the Red Sox took in stride. Clearly, Boston has its sights set on a much bigger prize.

For the Yankees, returning to the playoffs after missing out last season put the organization ahead of its expected schedule. This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Yankees, but the emergence of young players like Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez accelerated the process of building a contender.

“We realize we’ve still got a lot of work to do,” New York’s Brett Gardner said Saturday, “but I think it’s also important for us to celebrate and to realize it’s a big accomplishment to make it back to the playoffs.”

To celebrate or not? That’s the question this time of year. In 2003 the Sox celebrated well into the night after clinching a wild-card spot, even taking the champagne to taverns around Fenway Park. They were criticized for overindulging in a celebration for second place.

A lot of that criticism came from Yankees fans, who like to point to their 27 championships as the ultimate resume. This year those fans joined the players in celebrating the playoff appearance. In the end, the celebration is directly related to the expectations entering a season. The Yankees came into 2017 knowing a playoff berth would be a big step forward.

The Red Sox entered this season expecting to win the division and contend for a World Series title. After being swept in the first round last year, simply making the playoffs isn’t enough.

Therefore, simply making the postseason wasn’t a cause for celebration for Boston. That celebration will come this week, assuming the Red Sox finish the job. The way they’ve been playing, there’s little doubt they will.

The Red Sox are hoping the celebration comes sooner rather than later. They also hope it isn’t the last celebration they have this fall.

Tom Caron is a studio host for the Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.