Yep - that's the magic number after a Red Sox close win and a TB beating of the Yankees. Lots of memorable things happened today. Jon Lester pitched well for the Sox, and Jacoby Ellsbury proved he's for real - hitting his first MLB homer and making 3 great plays on defense to stop Orioles drives. He was definitely the star of the game. Lester and Lowell were also stars of the game - pitching well and driving in runs. I am a bit concerned about Kevin Youkilis who has been striking out at an alarming rate. His second half meltdown is starting to happen again. I think he struck out 4 times today - which I'm not sure has ever happened before. He has struck out 3 times in a game 3 times over the past couple of weeks - and that is something to be worried about.
The second half of the day was the Yankees getting stomped by the Devil Rays - after a close game until the 7th the DRays broke it open with a Carlos Pena (from, Northeastern University) homerun that helped him break the TB all time single season mark of 34. Congrats to Carlos, he is easily comeback player of the year and making Northeastern proud!
That brings the magic number down to 20 - and the Red Sox lead in the East to 6 games. We are in no way "out of the woods" or being handed the division, but we are controlling our own destiny and we could slam the door with a strong 10 games before we meet the Yankees in Fenway - and then beat out the Yankees at home. That would leave the Yanks backs against the wall and they'd have to be perfect the rest of the way to beat us out in the division.
I'm actually not worried - Beckett, DiceK and Schilling will not be as bad as they were against the Yankees - and no way Clemens does as well next time against the Sox. The 3 game sweep was a perfect storm for the Yankees and will not happen again. Man, it is going to be an exciting ending to the season. Let's all hope Manny gets better soon!