For the first time in two years, a pitcher has reached the 20 win mark, and that pitcher happens to play for the Boston Red Sox. Last night in Tampa Bay, Josh "Baseball" Beckett, as I've been calling him all year, went six strong innings, using his curveball in his later innings to move his strikeout total to 8. He only allowed 4 hits...that's a total of 7 in his last 2 starts. Great job, Josh. The bullpen took over for the final 3 innings, and Delcarmen, Lopez and Gagne (we need him to be effective!) all contributed to three scoreless frames. The Sox offense finally awakened from its unfortunate slumber in a huge way. Big Papi, a surprise starter against the lefty Kazmir, banged 3 hits, including a home run. Mikey Lowell hit another tater, which gave him 20 for the second consecutive season, hence the title of this post, 20/20. He becomes the first Sox third baseman to hit 20 home runs in back-to-back seasons. Great job Mike!
The Yankees, at home against the Jays and Doc Halladay, were down 4-0 going into the 9th inning, but rallied to force a 4-4 tie. That tie was broken in the 14th inning on a home run by Greg Zahn. So after 3 straight wins against the Red Sox, the Jays took the first of 4 from the Yankees. May they sweep them.
The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to two. Any combination of a Detroit victory or a Boston win will be cause for celebration. But will the team celebrate when what they really want is the AL East championship? I say they should. Here's what Tito had to say.....
"Terry Francona looked perplexed when asked the question Friday afternoon. If the Red Sox clinch a postseason berth this weekend, while still fending off the Yankees in the division race, will there be a celebration?
"I don't know," Francona said. "I'll have to go ask somebody, because I really don't know. I'll have to see what other teams do. I know in Philadelphia, we didn't. And here was the other way around; we were behind. Maybe we'll have a Coke, or something."
"I've asked around, I think you should celebrate every time," Mike Lowell said. "We're here to have fun. I think we have to be happy about that. There's only four teams in our league going. For us to be one of them, we should be happy about that."
Peter here...I'm happy...are you? Click on the title of this post for Theo and Peter Gammons' thoughts, and have a wonderful Saturday. Comments? I'm here!