Tuesday, August 31, 2004: Today was a good day. It was a great day. Were it not for Mike Myers (no, not the one of Austin Powers fame, and despite how it looked, not the one of Halloween fame, either) giving up a ninth-inning grand slam to make a laugher a 10-7 game, it might have been a historically great day. Oh hell, given that Foulke came in to close it out, and that the Yankees lost by what might be an American league record in a shutout shellacking at the hands of the Yankees, 22-0, and that we closed the gap to 3.5 (at one point they were up by 10.5; at the beginning of the month the lead was 8.5 games), and that we are up on the Angels by 2.5, and that the Rangers are losing, it was a pretty historically great day.

Despite the late inning ugliness, we had this game from the outset. In the first two innings, Manny hit two home runs and we were up 5-0. From that point on, it was a matter of adding a few runs (a 4-run 7th proved to be huge, with Dave Roberts’ three-run home run proving to be the difference maker) and holding off an Angels team that, whatever our bullpen’s shortcomings today, deserves credit for being tenacious. They do not say die (though Scoscia did pull some of the starters, which I bet he regretted in the 9th when Foulke came on to earn a much unexpected save). Of course almost getting lost in those last inning fireworks was Schilling’s sterling outing. He went 7 and 2/3rds innings, scattered nine hits which produced three earned runs, and while he only struck out four, he walked none. That earned him his 17th win, tying Mulder for the league lead. So while the end taints the whole a little, it is easy to say now that we won a big game in a big way, and the series advantage is in our hands. That feels nice.
And what of the big doings in the Bronx? This is a tough balance. On the one hand, I want to gloat, to enjoy the fruits of schadenfreude, to dance on their graves. On the other hand, this should not be about the Yankees. Oh hell – I am ecstatic about this. This morning’s New York Post had a picture of Alfred E. Neuman in a Yanks’ hat asking “What, Us Worry” as some of those guys claimed that they were not at all concerned by what is appearing more and more like 1978 in reverse. That they came out tonight, 4.5 up, playing a swooning Indians team while we had to start a run against the meat of the American league, and they not only lose, they not only get shelled, but in the Toilet Bowl in the Bronx they get beaten by a margin that forced statisticians and historians to the record books (Rennie Stennet had seven hits in a 22-0 Pirates mauling of the Cubs in the 1970s; otherwise, apparently, one would have to go back to the 1880s, though these numbers will surely get some revision). But beware, Sox fans – we can be happy, even elated, but tonight has nothing to do with tomorrow, these Yankees have too much pride to let this loss mean much for tomorrow, and if they win and we lose, they’ll get this game back. The ugliness is nice to see, and one cannot help but wonder if the yanks are not imploding just a little. I am all for such an implosion, and will relish tonight’s results for the next 20 or so hours, but tomorrow’s games are no less important than tonight’s even if the YANKEES LOST 22-0 AT HOME TONIGHT.
But back to the Sox. It is now seven in a row, 13 of 14 (and remember, the loss was the Ted Lilly game in which Pedro gave up but three runs) and we finish August with a 21-7 record. On August 15th we were down by 10.5 on the Yankees. We enter September down by 3.5. What seemed a matter of speculation and wishful thinking and hopeless optimism now seems very real. We can win this division. The Yankees know it. Most important, so do the Red Sox. Yeah, this was a damned good day.

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