Friday, September 21, 2007

The Hunt For Red October Continues...

After the Red Sox only managed to take one out of the three games in Fenway Park over the previous weekend things still looked good for the Sox. They had a 4.5 game lead with 12 games left in the season and the magic number to clinch was at 9. Joe Torre said to an interviewer in the locker room that it wasn't over and that the Red Sox could easily go on a four game losing streak while they start winning and they could be right back in the race. The Red Sox had not only a 4.5 game lead on the Yankees for the AL East division crown, but a 3 game lead on the Los Angeles-Anaheim Angels and the Cleveland Indians for the best record in the American League. This was before they landed in Toronto...then all hell broke loose.

The Red Sox lost three straight games to the Toronto Blue Jays thanks to meltdowns by the normally reliable bullpen and anemic offense due to injuries to key players Manny Ramirez (who has missed the last 20 contests), Kevin Youkilis (injured in the final game of the Yankees series), Hideki Okajima (hip) and Coco Crisp. The Yankees, on the other hand swept the Baltimore Orioles three straight games at home to close the gap to 1.5 games. The members of Red Sox Nation are panicked (what else is new?). The Evil Empire smells blood (what else is new?). The Red Sox need to win games NOW.

The Red Sox open up a three game series against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays while the New York Yankees have to play a tough four game series against the Toronto Blue Jays. The first opposing pitcher they face is Roy Halladay as the Red Sox send staff ace and leading Cy Young candidate Josh Beckett out on the mound to hopefully secure his 20th win of the season and give the Red Sox a much needed win and keep the hated Evil Empire at bay for another night at least.

The standings atop the AL East appear this way (as of 12:00 AM 9.24.07):

Boston Red Sox     92-64 ------
New York Yankees 90-66 2.0 GB

The magic number to clinch a place in the AL Divisional Series is (as of 5:00 PM 9.24. 07):


Alert to all members of Red Sox Nation, the magic number to clinch the AL East Championship is (as of 5:00 PM EST 9.24.07):


Any combination of Red Sox wins and/or Yankee losses result in one being subtracted from the magic number's total. When the number reaches 1, after the next Red Sox win or Yankee loss the AL East division championship will be clinched and the Red Sox will be assured of a place in the postseason and their first division championship since 1995 or their first appearance in the postseason since 2005 when they were swept by the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox.

Edit: The Yankees magic number to clinch a playoff spot is 3 as of 9.24.07 5:00 PM EST


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