The Red Sox lost tonight, 5-4, to the Minnesota Twins: and it's all SI's fault. The vaunted "Sports Illustrated Curse" works it's black magic again for putting Papelbon on the cover this week.
Screw that noise: curses connected with the Boston Red Sox went the way of the dinosaur in 2004. When you come back from 3 down to beat the MFY and SWEEP the Cardinals in the World Series, you can take any talk of curses and pound sand where the sun don't shine.
They lost tonight because Josh Beckett turned back into a mere mortal and gave up 2 HR's, a triple, and NEVER had an inning without a base runner. They lost because they had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth, and Tek, followed by Youkilis, struck out.
Stuff happens: they still lead by two with three to go. So they clinch the division tomorrow. Or Saturday: big freaking deal.
Bottom line is this: they are IN. And no matter what the Yankees, Angels, Indians, or for that matter, the Twins do, THEY. ARE. IN.
And come next week, it won't matter what happened in the previous 162 games: it's what happens in the next month that counts.
In my opinion, Beckett-Schilling-Daisuke in the starting rotation with MDC-Okajima-Papelbon in the 'pen trumps any group of pitchers the other 3 teams in the AL can run out for the playoffs.
Is Manny healthy? Check.
Is Okajima healthy? Check.
Is Youk healthy? Maybe not 100%, but he's ready to roll.
That's good enough for me: let's get this clustermess started already.