Now we wait.

That’s the price for having the best record in baseball this season, a record-setting 108-win campaign that gives the Boston Red Sox home-field advantage throughout the entire postseason.

Trouble is, we don’t know who the Red Sox will be playing when playoff baseball returns to Fenway Park on Friday. While the Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians gear up for a best-of-five showdown between the last two AL champs, the Sox must await the outcome of Wednesday night’s winner-take-all wild-card game between the New York Yankees and Oakland A’s.

So who do you want?

From a fan’s perspective, the two teams couldn’t be more different. If it’s the Yankees, it’ll be just the fourth playoff series ever between these two old rivals and the first since Boston’s epic comeback from a 3-0 series deficit in 2004.

That was the third time in six years that Boston and New York met in the postseason, and the first time the Sox beat the Yankees in a playoff series. If the Yankees advance to face the Sox in the playoffs for the first time in 14 years you will be bombarded with images of Pedro Martinez and Don Zimmer, Babe Ruth in both uniforms, Aaron Boone taking Tim Wakefield deep, Jason Varitek punching Alex Rodriguez, Dave Roberts stealing second and David Ortiz walking off with a pair of wins.

The Red Sox/A’s rivalry isn’t quite as storied, but Boston actually has a deeper playoff history with Oakland. They’ve played each other in four postseason series – most recently an oft-forgotten comeback in the 2003 AL Division Series to set up an epic series with New York. The Sox trailed that best-of-five series 2-0 before rattling off three consecutive wins. Prior to that every series with the A’s had been a sweep: the Sox sweeping Oakland in 1975 before getting swept away in 1988 and 1990.

Fans at Fenway over the weekend seemed torn over whether or not they wanted the Yankees in the first round. It had nothing to do with baseball and everything to do with the rivalry. There seems to be a fair amount of people who can’t wait to beat the hated New Yorkers, while others are frightened by the prospect of losing to them.

If you’re trying to handicap the potential opponents based on strengths and weaknesses, it’s a tough call.

The Yankees are the devil you know. We’ve seen them 19 times this season, including six of the last 12 games. They’re the only AL playoff team the Sox had a winning record against this year, squeaking out a 10-9 mark thanks to a 10-2 win Sunday.

We haven’t seen the A’s since May. Since then Oakland has built a remarkable bullpen and have multiple options to bridge the gap to closer Blake Treinen – a pitcher who has entered the game in the eighth inning 13 times this year. Manager Bob Melvin isn’t afraid to shorten the game if he’s got the lead.

The A’s also have the only player in baseball to hit more home runs than J.D. Martinez. Khris Davis led all of baseball with 48 homers, and is part of an offense that led the majors in home runs on the road this season. They won’t be intimidated by Fenway Park; they’ll be drooling over it.

Oakland took both series from the Sox this year, winning 2 of 3 at the Oakland Alameda Coliseum and at Fenway.

The Sox fared better against the Yankees, but over the weekend we were reminded how potent Boone’s lineup can be. The Yankees crushed four homers Friday night and two more on Saturday, winning both games and breaking the record for most homers by a team in a season.

The Yankees had to battle through significant injuries to get to this point. They are healthier now. They’re very right-handed which can often be a problem, but might not be against Boston’s top two pitchers – left-handers Chris Sale and David Price.

The good news in all of this is that whichever team survives Wednesday night’s game in New York will have used up pitchers and players and won’t be quite as fresh as the Sox, who are in the midst of a four-day break. Then again, sitting around for four days can cause a team to be rusty.

So we’ll wait and see. And as we wait, we’ll toss and turn over whether you want to face the devil in pinstripes, or the devil we know very little about.

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

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.