Saturday, October 02, 2004

Game 159

Final Score:

Boston Red Sox 8, Baltimore Orioles 3

Well, no reverse 1978. The Yankees swept the Twins on Thursday to take the AL East, setting up an interesting dynamic for the post-season; if the Twins face the Yankees in the first round, will they be swept again? I'll go into the weirdness of the playoffs in the moment, but for now, the Sox have the Wildcard and celebrated by beating Rodrigo Lopez again last night. Wakefield got past his recent slump to hold the Orioles to two runs and is one of starters for the post-season, along with Schilling, Pedro and Arroyo. Derek Lowe will be in the bullpen - I have a feeling this may be the end of his star in Boston. Boston is winning by seven runs today, so the boys seemed to be relaxed and enjoying these last few games, which have no meaning besides getting the players into the post-season groove and giving Boston the opportunity to win 99 games - assuming they beat Baltimore tonight and tomorrow, of course.

So, the post-season matchups: in the West, Anaheim is one win away from taking the AL West title from Oakland. The two teams play this afternoon at 4:10 Eastern. The Twins are at home, playing Cleveland. A sweep of the Indians would put the Twins against Boston...assuming the Angels don't sweep the A's. If the Angels lose one game, or if they get knocked out by the A's over the next two, then the Twins have the second best record to the Yankees and they play Boston. If the Angels sweep Oakland and the Twins sweep Cleveland, then both teams will have 93 wins and the Twins will play the Yankees, as the Angels won this years' season series against Minnesota. Since I'd rather face the Twins instead of the Angels, who have those amazing arms in the outfield and a dangerous offense, the hope is that Minnesota sweeps Cleveland and Oakland beats Anaheim once OR, even better, that Minnesota loses at least one game and Oakland wins today and tomorrow - the A's have the lead in season series against Minnesota, so they'd face the Red Sox in the ALDS, which would be TASTY. Basically, I want 2003 all over again, except that EITHER, the Yankees don't make it past the first round, or that Sox beat the Yankees this time around and go to the World Series for the first time since 1986. After that, I can hope for a Cubs/Red Sox World Series that the Sox win in seven...and the world will probably end, or something like that. I'm contemplating making a trip to Boston just for the post-season riots :) Should the unbelievable happen (and I mean a World Championship win - a loss in the postseason would be far too believable), I'm sure it'll be like the first Patriots win in the Superbowl in January '02 - I'll walk around with a big grin on my face for a few days, then settle in for another long winter of hot stove baseball dreaming.

BIG props go out to Ichiro Suzuki for breaking George Sisler's 84 year old record for most hits in a season last night. Suzuki, who leads the majors in batting average at .373 (about forty points ahead of Baltimore's Melvin Mora) now has 259 hits, two ahead of the old record. What's interesting, of course, is that someone can break a record set for hitting in the 1920s but still can't break .400 in average - makes me wonder what conditions will have to be like in the game for someone to do so again. GO SOX!