BOSTON — On a bright Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, regulars were not penciled into the starting lineups. The bullpens got busy in the second inning. Substitutions took place mid-game.

“Whether we win or lose, it doesn’t matter,” Brock Holt said after the Yankees beat Boston, 8-5. “Kind of got the spring training vibe.”

Unlike March in Fort Myers, when players are preparing for a marathon season, late September in Boston means prepping for an October sprint.

Alex Cora says his Red Sox have their eyes on the prize.

“This team has that attitude,” he said. “It started before the season. A few guys, the last two years here, they went to the ALDS and it didn’t happen … I do feel there is some unfinished business.

“From Day 1 we’ve been talking about it. I told them, ‘Don’t be afraid to talk about the World Series.’ Every team in the big leagues, that’s your goal. Why be polite or humble about it? That’s our goal.

“We’ve been in a good mindset for a while, since February. I don’t think that’s going to change in October. We know we’re going to face some good teams, but we believe in what we have, and we have a good team, too. Can’t wait until Oct. 5.”

After going 1-6 in its past two postseasons – losing in two American League division series – Boston set a franchise record for wins (107, with Sunday’s meaningless game to go), and now look for a deep playoff run.

Unlike the past two years, Boston has home-field advantage in the playoffs and on Friday begins the ALDS against Oakland or New York.

Fear the Yankees.

Yes, Oakland has a lights-out bullpen – and a 4-2 record against Boston this year – but New York is coming into form.

“They’re playing really good baseball right now,” Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi said. “A lot of their guys are having better at-bats.”

It’s not like the Yankees struggled earlier. They won their 100th game Saturday.

But New York is getting injured players back while some new acquisitions are bolstering the lineup and rotation.

In the past month, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, Gary Sanchez and Aroldis Chapman have come off the disabled list. Plus General Manager Brian Cashman made several trade deadline deals.

Three are standing out:

Left-hander J.A. Happ is 7-0 with the Yankees and may get the wild-card game start Wednesday.

Outfielder Andrew McCutchen has a .926 OPS since being acquired, with five home runs in 25 games.

First baseman Luke Voit came out of nowhere after a seemingly minor deal with St. Louis. Mostly a Triple-A player, Voit is batting .328 (1.075 OPS) with 13 home runs in 38 games for the Yankees.

Voit’s homers are part of an impressive display of Yankees power – a major league-record 266 homers (after Gleyber Torres and Giancarlo Stanton went deep Saturday). Twelve Yankees have at least 10 home runs; six of them have at least 20.

Besides the two long balls Saturday, New York tagged Boston pitchers for four homers Friday.

Cora points out the last time the Yankees visited Fenway – a four-game Boston sweep Aug. 2-5 – Red Sox pitchers contained the long ball (no homers in two of the games).

“It’s not something we haven’t done before,” Cora said. Preparation is key. “Obviously we have scouting reports, spread sheets and hot zones.”

Hot zones refer to where an individual hitter has the most success (red zones) and the most struggles (blue).

“You’ve just got to pitch to the blue,” Cora said.

If it was only so easy … especially as Red Sox starters have had their scuffles.

Ace Chris Sale is coming off two stints on the disabled list, and has allowed five earned runs in his last two starts (eight innings).

David Price has had his ups and downs, especially in the playoffs, and is 0-3 against the Yankees this year.

Rick Porcello (4.33 ERA) gave up 10 home runs the first three months, and 17 home runs since.

Eovaldi is pitching well (1.35 ERA last five outings).

Bullpen concerns remain. Eduardo Rodriguez seemed like a welcomed addition from the rotation, but he allowed four hits and three runs over two innings Saturday.

“Not good,” Cora said. “He needs to be better. Whatever role you have, you have to go after it.”

Boston lost its third straight game.

“It really doesn’t matter,” Cora said. “We’re going to 0-0 next week.”

Holt can’t wait.

“We’re ready for the games to start mattering again,” he said. “Ready for the lights to come on and October baseball to start.”

That spring-training vibe is almost over.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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