Tonight, the Boston Red Sox did what many would think the impossible. Again.
Tonight, the Red Sox eliminated the New York Yankees, who are not going to the post season for the first time since the mid 90's, by beating Cliff Lee of the Cleveland Indians. Lee, coming into tonight's game with an astounding 22-2 record and seems a shoe-in for the AL Cy Young Award, hadn't lost since July 6th when he lost to Minnesota, which was also eliminated tonight from the Wild Card race.
Behind veteran Tim Wakefield, the Red Sox did all their damage against Lee in the fourth and fifth innings. Kevin Youkilis smashed a two run bomb over the famed Green Monster off Lee in the bottom of the 4th and the Red Sox added three more runs in the following inning.
Last night when interviewed by NESN broadcaster Heidi Watney, the almost invincible Lee said that out of all the lineups in the major leagues, the one he fears the most was the Red Sox, who'd lit up Lee several times in previous years.
The defending World Champion Red Sox will be going to the postseason for the fifth time in 6 years and for the fourth time in the five years that Terry Francona has been Boston's manager.
The Red Sox clinched their playoff berth in much the same fashion that they went to the World Series in 1967. Just as Boston shortstop Rico Petrocelli grabbed a pop fly to clinch the final out of the 1967 regular season by beating the Twins, Boston shortstop Alex Cora made an identical play to clinch Boston's trip to the playoffs. Tonight's clinching game was exactly 41 years to the day since Boston went to the 1967 World Series.
Of course, after that last play in 1967, the Red Sox wouldn't know that they were headed to the World Series until later when the Angels beat the Detroit Tigers in the back half of a scheduled double header. Then, as now, the Red Sox, White Sox and Twins were in the mix until the end of the season.