Keeping the Faith
The Red Sox have taken care of all the business there is to take care of before October. On September 22, they clinched a playoff spot, the first major league team to do so this season. On September 28, they clinched their first American League East division title since 1995. Last night, they clinched at least a tie with Cleveland for best record in the league, a tie that will be broken if necessary by the season series, which the Sox won 5-2. That last bit gives Boston home field advantage for every playoff series in which they appear this October.
So it is without the slightest trepidation that I leave in the middle of this afternoon's final regular game to attend a church event with my niece and fellow Red Sox fan, Janel, who asked me to be her confirmation sponsor. We'll be praying for God to look favorably upon our boys. Season wrap up to follow later this evening.
Finally,,,, I kept going to Sox Sistahs blog and waiting for new posts... Finally found where where I can get my fix again! GO SOX!
OK, I admit that I was prepared for the big magic-number-crossing-off ceremony we have at my office every morning when there's a number to X out (red X for a Red Sox win, blue X for a Yankees loss). So it didn't work out that way. We are still masters of our own destiny. Magic number drum roll, please!
And the division lead graph looks like this:
As you can see, the red line is almost overlapping the blue line. Patience, people. The numbers remain in our favor. We in one of the next three against Minnesota, the MFY lose one of the next three against Baltimore, and we're done. Of course, we still we want to end with the best record in the American League (which at the moment means I'm hoping the Royals decide to play spoiler this weekend against Cleveland) so we can select which ALDS schedule we want to play.
I have been waiting until they clinch the AL East before I take a look at some of the problems and concerns heading into October, but that will have to wait. Right now, I am staying positive.
The season is drawing to a close, a mere week remaining. It was with a victory over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Saturday night that the Red Sox became the first team in Major League Baseball to clinch a spot in the 2007 postseason. With the division lead down to 2 1/2 games, it was a relief to us fans to know that at least one goal was met. Two more remain: winning the American League East division title, and securing home field advantage for round one of the playoffs.
The Red Sox are off today, but with the Yankees and Blue Jays playing this afternoon, the Sox had a chance to pick up ground in the standings without lifting a finger. Obligingly, the MFY lost 4-1, in the process padding the Sox' division lead by a half game and knocking down the magic number by one. The magic number now sits at (drum roll please)...
The division remains too close for some people's comfort, but nonetheless the red line is creeping closer to the blue one. Keep in mind that when the two lines meet, the division will be ours.
One of my co-workers is a faithful reader of this blog. After the Yankees series, he thanked me for my post talking him in off the ledge. It was with him in mind that I posted my most recent entry. To my surprise, this morning I received the following, which I am reprinting with his permission:
A ['Sox talk'] ban has been put in place in my row by others, but I would like to talk about the Sox. I'm okay with the current state of the Sox - honestly.
- We know they are making the playoffs.
- All I am asking for is the division and some momentum going into the playoffs. Is that too much to ask for?
- Yankees-Angels...works for me!!!
- The 2006 and 2000 WS Champs backed into the playoffs.
- Manny must go at the end of the year. He is showing his age this year, not as productive as in the past, and he is the exact opposite of the beloved David Ortiz, who I would not be shocked if we find out at the end of the year that he has been playing with a bleeding ulcer or something to that degree! Drop Manny, go after A-Rod (we know they are going to), and don't resign Lowell (bad move, but when you are in love with A-Rod...). You have an OF of Crisp in LF, Ellsbury in CF, and a $70 million void in RF, an IF of A-Rod, Lugo, Pedroia, and Youkilis. You have a running, timely hitting team surrounded by A-Rod and Ortiz. I'm okay with that.
No, thank you, Matt, for your insightful words, with which I more or less agree, except for that A-Rod thing.
I'm not ready for Manny to go yet. One more year...yes, he alternately endears and enrages, but part of the package of immensely talented savants is putting up with their idiosyncrasies.
I'd take ARod in a heartbeat, no doubt about it. But I'd sure miss Mike Lowell.
ARod isn't going anywhere after the season he's had in New York.
With that in mind, Mike Lowell is the BEST third-basemen on the free agent market come November. I think the Sox will make a run for him. Probably not go overboard with their offer, but I see them making a fair offer. And I think he not only deserves it, but we need him.
And I'm also not ready to show Manny the door. He hasn't done anything this year to 'enrage' anyone. Even the sports writers have to suck it up and admit he's hurt this season. I want his bat around as long as we can afford to have it.
The Red Sox seem intent on challenging my patience and loyalty. But I'm onto their evil plot. I will stand my ground! I will not succumb! And for those of you coming here to be talked off the ledge (you know who you are), you'd be wise to do the same, or I'll find you and smack you upside the head.
For some reason, Yankees fans were under the mistaken impression going into last weekend's series at Fenway that their team had been playing great and our team hadn't. Actually, as of Friday morning, the Yankees had a September record of 8-3, while the Red Sox were 9-3. That, of course, is how the Sox were manage to pick up a half game in the standings. So when you put it that way, it doesn't really matter that we lost 2 of three over the weekend.
The one win was, of course, the 10-1 rout on Saturday afternoon in which Josh Beckett won his MLB-leading 19th game and further cemented his place as the Cy Young favorite. His counterpart, ironically, was Chien-Ming Wang, who was also after #19 but didn't get it. As a matter of fact, even though Wang has had a fine season, Beckett has been better in almost every way: one more win, one fewer loss, 2.1 more innings pitched, 0.62 lower ERA, almost twice as many strikeouts, 31% fewer walks, 24 points lower opponents' batting average. Wang is better than Beckett only in having allowed half as many home runs.
So that was the major highlight of Saturday's game. Friday's and Sunday's weren't nearly as much fun, with the Sox losing both by a run. Who'd have figured on Friday night that Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon would be the pitchers who would blow a late five-run lead? A work friend who hates Terry Francona with irrational zeal insists that the manager should have known to take out Okajima after he allowed two runs. But seriously, anyone who says s/he expected him to allow two more after that is lying. Sometimes a sure thing isn't. Ditto for last night, when I'm quite sure I wasn't the only one thinking we were witnessing yet another Mariano Rivera meltdown against his nemesis, especially with David Ortiz stepping to the plate with two out and the bases loaded.
No matter. After all was said and done, the magic number to clinch the division is...
That's right, peeps, we're talking single digits! With 12 games left for the Sox to play and 13 for the MFY, any combination of Boston wins and New York losses totalling 9 guarantees the Sox the division title. That means that if the Sox play only .500 ball for the rest of the month, the Yankees have to go 11-2 to win the division (and even that is just to tie in the standings, the tiebreaker being that New York won the division series 10-8).
And let's look at the graph of the lead, shall we? The red line is the Red Sox lead over the Yankees; the blue line is the games remaining. As soon as the red line hits the blue line, BANG! The Boston Red Sox are your American League East champs.
And that, dear friends, is why I am not bothered by the unfortunate events of the weekend. Sure, it's always better to beat the evil ones, preferably in as humiliating a manner as possible. But if I must choose between winning the season series and winning in the standings, guess which one I'll take?
It's probably a good thing that things were crazy at work the week before last while the Red Sox were getting swept by the MFY. Having other things to worry about forced me to distill the series down to its essence, which is:
We sucked for three days.
But we still came away with a five game lead in the standings.
That said, we can now move on.
I wish I was tied up so I didn't have to see that awful display of baseball. Either way we are still hangin onto the lead (barely) and hopefully last nights rally against the Devil Rays will send the sox into the weekend rivalry with something to prove.
Check out funny video where people talk about the rivalry.
Lets GO SOX!!
Q: What do the following players have in common?
A: They all pitched no-hitters for the Boston Red Sox.
Congratulations to Clay Buchholz for joining this elite club tonight against the Baltimore Orioles in just his second major league game.
Here is the video to the clay no hitter in the 9th.
Pissed that I missed the game!
just another day in the life of a TEXAN! :)
Despite the week just ending, the Red Sox magic number was reduced by one on account of last night's Yankees loss to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. We now stand at:
And for those ready to jump off the nearest bridge because they are under the impression that the Red Sox are tanking and the Yankees are surging, here's the latest on the division lead graph:
(The magic number is the total number of Red Sox wins plus Yankees losses needed for the Red Sox to clinch the division title.)