As I've said before, "Who's on first, what's on second, and why are the Red Sox2 in another wild card race?" Actually, barring an all-out Lowe- or BK-like implosion they pretty much have the wild card locked up, but I'd still like to see them sweep the Yankees at Fenway this weekend. Gina and I were at the 12-inning, 7-6 victory over the Os on Wednesday (where we bumped into my uncle and cousin3, and later found out my sister4 was also in attendance) and it was certainly exciting, but I'm hoping that the Sox will put together a more decisive series this time around. They got beat up a bit last weekend, but Jackie MacMullan summed5 up the sentiments of the RSN quite well:
The bandages are off. The wounds are exposed. It's now or never for the Red Sox to inflict some pain of their own.
Although I'm always on the fence about whether to love or hate Dan Shaughnessy, he's had a couple of good articles recently, including one6 today about the suddenly close race to capture the AL East. Boston7, which trailed the MFYs (nod: Dan8) by 10 1/2 games just two and a half weeks ago, has been on a tear. They have been playing in commanding fashion9 (14 of 15, 17 of 20, and 20 of 24!) to close within 3 1/2 games of the Yanks while distancing themselves from the Wild Card pack. New York, meanwhile, may need to hire a Heimlich professional, having suffered the worst one-sided loss in their history. And it was a shutout loss to Cleveland, no less. I'm excited about this change in fortunes, but like Shaughnessy I'm still cautiously optimistic.
The Sox have not completed this comeback yet. Far from it. Boston still trails by 3 1/2 with 31 to play. But the Sox are hot (14 wins in their last 15 games) while the Yankees are struggling (losing eight of their last 15). Boston has far better starting pitching. The Sox are playing better defense than the 1985 Chicago Bears. And the Red Sox over the last two years have demonstrated that they can go head-to-head with the Bombers on a daily basis.
The Sox and Yankees meet six more times. This time, the Red Sox are the hunters. And suddenly there's a new reason why New York is a city that doesn't sleep.
Oh, and one last thing to consider (among other things10): the 10 1/2 game lead began to dissipate on August 16. What's the significance? That was the day, back in 1948, that Babe Ruth died.
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