That means one of two things. Either, it’s one of the most important games of the season, with playoff implications. Or, it’s another game playing out the string because the playoffs spots have all been decided.
This year, it’s pretty much the latter…I think. Technically, the division isn’t decided yet. Technically, the Wild Card isn’t decided yet. But, they really are. With the Red Sox magic number in the Wild Card, even the Nationals would be able to win enough games to close it out. The Yankees lead in the division isn’t much less secure. Unless. The Sox were supposed to at least make it more interesting by winning more games in KC this week. Currently, the Yankees lead sits at 5.5. It would have been more fun at 4.5, but it’s not. The Sox currently enter a 3 game set in NY. In theory, a sweep would put the lead at 2.5 with a week to play. It would be interesting, if anybody cared. With both teams in the playoffs, wins will almost be by accident.
Tonight’s match-up looks to be in the Sox favor. Jon Lester faces off against Joba Chamberlain. Lester has been the Red Sox best pitcher over most of the season. He’s well on his way to becoming the ace so many people thought he’d be. Joba, on the other hand, is showing that if it weren’t for his funny name, and the pinstripes on his uniform, nobody would know who he is. He has been nothing short of awful lately. What some Yankees fans considered a distinct NY advantage at the 4-spot in the rotation has become anything but. As the Yankees have put the newly minted Joba Rules in place, Chamberlain looks to be performing worse and worse. Probably not what the Yankees were hoping for heading into the playoffs. It almost assures that if the Yankees end up with the best record, they would pick the longer series to try and skip his appearance. If that’s the case, the Sox would face the Angels in the shorter series. That puts the pressure back on Dice-K to show his stuff in the ALDS. I’d like to think that having to use a fourth starter helps the Sox, but we’ll have to see.
At this point, it’s all a waiting game. We’ll just have to wait and see how it all plays out. Winning probably isn’t as important as staying healthy. I would imagine that pitch counts will be strictly held to. It’s just keeping everyone fresh and ready to go in two weeks. It’s almost a spring training feel to everything. Sure, it’s the Yankees, but the bile just isn’t there.
At least until Joba throws another one at Youk’s head.