The magic number for the Red Sox to reach the playoffs is 3 games. Three. With three games to play. As lousy as they have been this month, they still sit controlling their own destiny with three games to play. And, what a way to knock a game of that magic number!
If you was a turning point, how about Jacoby Ellsbury’s 3-run home run last night. The Sox were in a must win situation. They did NOT want to lose, and fall into a tie with the Rays. I have to give the team a ton of credit for hanging in there. They battled back. They had a great game. They pulled it out. Ellsbury doing his best impression of Carl Yastrzemski had three home runs yesterday in the double header. None were more important to the Red Sox season than the one in the nightcap. There were plenty of chances to simply pack it in. Last night’s victory showed the heart that so many people assumed was long gone. It was just fantastic.
Now, there’s still work to be done. The victory did have two rather annoying effects. The Sox yet again had a long night before needing to travel. Hopefully they’ll be able to recover in time to take care of business tonight. The game also wiped the Yankees out before their series in Tampa. I wouldn’t expect much help from them tonight.
Speaking of a lack of help, I have been pondering a question. Russell Martin is on record saying he hates the Red Sox. He doesn’t want them in the playoffs. He’s ready to do whatever it takes to keep them from making it. I have to wonder. If the Rays score the winning run because of his error, or he strikes out looking with the tying run on base, does the commissioner’s office need to investigate? Is he saying he’s going to throw games? At what point does coincidence trigger something larger? Does he need to play hit butt off in these three games to prove the fix isn’t in? I know the Yankees as a team aren’t trying. They’re resting players. But, not trying to win is different than trying to lose. I would think that Martin set himself up to straddle that fine line this week.
The job for the Red Sox this week? They need to win these next two games. They need to ride the momentum. They need to remember that they’re the Red Sox, and that they’re playing Baltimore. Hopefully the Rays will drop one of their next two. That makes the Wednesday game meaningless. That way, Lester doesn’t have to start on short rest and the rotation is set up perfectly for the postseason. The Sox just need to take care of business. This is where the fun comes in.