One more. That’s it. Tomorrow will be the last game ever played by the biggest rivalry in the history of American sports. It is also conceivably the Yankee’s last chance to get a shot at October this year. They are now seven games out of the Wild Card race, and only four head-to-head games left with the Wild Card leading Red Sox.
The AL East remains the third tightest division in baseball (not counting the wild cards). The Mets and Phillies continue their tango, the Phillies losing tonight to fall .5 games behind the Mets, with Chicago getting hammered by the O’s tonight, the Twins moved to 1 game behind the ChiSox, and with a Tampa Bay win the Red Sox remain 3.5 games back on the Rays. While it is true that the Dodgers are only 3 games back on the D-Backs, Arizona has lost the past 4 and LA has lost the past 6 games. That race is going to come down to who sucks less, as both teams are hovering just above or just below .500. The streaking Cubbies have a secure 5.5 game lead on the streaking Brewers, but no one is more secure in their position than the Angels. Even if the A’s beat the Angel’s tonight, they will still be 19.5 games back, while the second place Texans will be a mere 15 games back on the almighty Las Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Lets talk Sox-Stripes, though.
Ponson got a little rocked and knocked out early. Ramirez and Marte held down the fort, Veras and Robertson got rocked. A game that was tied until the 5th and close at 4-2 until the 8th ended up with a score of 11-3. A solid start for Byrd, a good appearance for Delcarmen, and can we discuss what a beastly amazing team player Timlin is? He’s one of those guys who just quietly does his job, acting as a great veteran presence in a mostly young ‘pen.
Varitek continues to bring his batting average out of the gutter. Cora was the only Sox player not to get on base, but he hit a sac-fly, so I’m okay with that. Jason Bay was phenomenal with a triple and a double. He may not be Manny, but would Manny actually be playing as much as Bay has? Would he have as many RBIs? Would our stress levels be much higher? Pointless questions, moving on. Ellsbury had two hits tonight, in his spot at the top. Maybe he’s getting used to leading off. Youk, who is having a, dare I say it, MVP year, was his normal, beastly batting self. And my boy, (I have several) Dustin Pedroia hit his first grand slam to really pound the Yanks in the 8th.
I gotta say, though I was balancing this game with Project Runway (a really interesting combination, let me tell you) I realized something. While this is historic and it’s a big deal ,y ever-cynical father pointed something out to me: even in a new stadium, the Yankees will always be hanging around to screw the Red Sox over in some way. The Yankees will still be the same pinstripe-wearing, stash-growing, hair-cutting, no-name-on-the-back-of-the-jersey Bombers we are bred to despise. So no sentimentality, we will always have those stories about how Schil took the mound with a bloody sock, the 2003 disaster, the 2004 miracle, and so on, those memories will always be there. And the Yanks getting a shiny new stadium to make Steinbrenner more ridiculous sums of money just makes them more and more the Evil Empire.
Last game is tomorrow night. If there ever was a must-win for a team to keep post-season hopes alive, its tomorrow night for the Yanks.