So close. So very close to a perfect weekend. While you're crazy to ever expect a four game sweep, there are just too many oddities in baseball, the Sox put those hopes in our head this weekend. After winning the first three games of the series, the Sox nearly did it.
But, that's no matter. Sure the extra two game swing in the standings would have been nice. But a series win was really as much as we were looking for. It allowed the Sox to pick up two games on the Yankees, as well as the rest of their competition. In fact, it lowered their magic number to clinch the division all the way to 66! The number to make the playoffs is a very manageable 56. The Yankees lead is under ten again, and things are rolling for the Sox as they won their second straight series against teams ahead of them in the standings. With two more of those coming up, that's a good sign.
Beyond the mathematical reasons this was a big series, there were the secondary ones. First, the Sox certainly don't seem to fear the Yankees. If they face each other in the playoffs, I would have no nervousness whatsoever. I suspect the players would feel the same way. Second? The Sox apparently couldn't care less about facing the Yankees closer. Once again a pinstriped closer that is supposed to dominate looks pretty average against the Sox.
That confidence won't just help against the Yankees. When the 2004 team was on their run to the playoffs, Pedro made a comment that they felt they could beat anyone with the way they were playing at that moment. That swagger is important. It's stops you from pressing. It stops you from doing foolish things and taking chances. There's not the desperation to take advantage of a situation, because there's the confidence that another chance will present itself.
Which is great, because there's still plenty of time.