Sunday, September 30, 2007

Game 161: Irrelevant Game Number One

Final Score: Boston Red Sox 6, Minnesota Twins 4

Another victory, and with the AL East in hand (woo!) everything came down to one thing: who would get the more advantageous schedule for the ALDS, with the day off this coming Thursday. Well, wrap up that prize: thanks to an Indians loss in Kansas City yesterday, Cleveland is mathematically eliminated from schedule choice, even if they tie up the record today.

Truth be told, I wasn't particularly worried about winning the scheduling privilege - that seemed like gravy that would be play out as it will - but yesterday's win makes me glad about two things:

  1. Tim Wakefield may not be able to break his career high win total, but at least he tied it, picking up 17 wins for the first time in nine years and capping a remarkable regular season where he pitched an average of a bit over six innings per game and, for a lengthy period at the beginning of the year, was one of the best pitchers in baseball. More importantly, Wake pitched seven innings for the first time in more than a month, which you have to figure means he's no longer sore in the back. Past experience tells us that seeing Wake come in for some playoff long relief is not out of the question, so having him healthy is a very good and necessary thing.
  2. J. D. Drew, finally showing why the Sox paid the money for the big contract. Drew's OPS for September is a Barry Bonds-level 1.072, and yesterday he knocked in three of Boston's runs, extending his RBI streak to eight games. Drew's hot streak not only closes that ugly hole in the fifth or sixth slot; it gives Boston's lineup scary good potential from nearly top to bottom.
So, one game left and we can go off to the dance. Everything's in place, all of the major decisions have been made, and the afternoon, for the first time since the last Spring Training in March, we can watch a baseball game without a care in the world. Enjoy it, fans; we'll be back in the thick of tension soon enough.