I almost feel the need to apologize for last night's game. The Yanks plated two runs on the first (one by error), disappeared for seven innings, and then hit three home runs because Toronto doesn't have reliable relief pitching. On the other side, the Jays must have hit at least eight line drives that scorched their way directly into the gloves of the Yankee infield. Final score, 5-3 Yanks, and a victory over Doc Halladay. Like a group of petty burglars in a Citgo who search every customer and discover a million unmarked dollars inside the knapsack of a drug kingpin's bagman...we will take it.
They needed thirteen innings, but Tampa finally took Boston down at the Trop. That means our lead swells to 1.5 games, and we're guaranteed first place when the Sox come to town Thursday. This is by far the biggest series of the year, and I'll probably do some kind of preview tomorrow. I'm trying to decide on my expectations. The demanding Yankee fan in me wants to make ultimatums like "win 3 of 4 or this series is a failure." The reasonable human in me thinks "just take 2, it proves we can compete with them, and it's a moral victory." And the scared child thinks "please just win 1 game, please prove we can actually beat this team, please, please, don't get swept."
I'm going to make a bold prediction, since I've been having a little luck on the seer front lately. First, Tampa beats Boston again tonight (Price v. Penny), and then sweeps the Mariners over the weekend. The Yanks take the mini-series from Toronto, and 3 of 4 from the Sox. By Monday, the standings look like so:
And from then on, the Sox and Rays are in a dog fight for the wild card as Texas fades down the stretch.
Yanks-Sox is something you feel in your bones, and I'm already tingling. I'll be at the game Thursday, and hopefully Friday as well. Meanwhile, here are some true facts about Boston's starting line-up and rotation. I got a copy of some features that didn't end up going in the 2009 media guide, so I thought I'd reprint them here. Have a good Wednesday.
THE BOSTON RED SOX: FACTS!
Jason Varitek: Once made a dress from eggshells and wore it to a stranger's Bar Mitzvah.
Kevin Youkilis: Keeps a black lab named "Royal Oil" chained in his basement. Comes home drunk three times a week and beats the shit out of it.
Dustin Pedroia: Considers himself in the "top one percent of all Americans" at the Crane Game.
Nick Green: Gets an erection during double plays.
David Ortiz: Owes all his success in professional baseball to steroids.
J.D. Drew: Voted "Team's Most Boring Person" three years in a row by Terry Francona.
Mike Lowell: Thinks it's attractive to females when he puts one leg up on a table, stool, or chair, in the Captain Morgan style.
Jacoby Ellsbury: When nobody's looking, walks straight into the outfield wall hoping that he'll fade and disappear like in 'Field of Dreams.' Hugely depressed.
Josh Beckett: Spends at least four hours a day feeling pissed off that somebody wrote "fuk u" on his locker in 2005.
Clay Buchholz: Publishes a daily newsletter that only Nick Green still feels guilty enough to read.
Dice K: Has a huge artistic collage of Big Mac wrappers in his locker meant to mock American greed. Youkilis thinks it's "pretty fucken rad."
Jon Lester: Idly scratches interlocking "NY" symbols in the mound with his foot. When the Sox and Yankees play, asks Jeter questions like "is Broadway pretty legit?"
Tim Wakefield: Wrote "fuk u" on Josh Beckett's locker in 2005.