This is a personal plea to all of my fellow Red Sox fans out there panicking:
Everything is OK.
Repeat after me... THERE IS NO RACE FOR THE AMERICAN LEAGUE EAST!
Don't believe me?
Let's look at it from this angle.
When we woke up on Friday morning, the Red Sox had a 7 game lead on the Yankees.
The biggest lead of any division leader.
This weekend, the Yankees took the Devil Rays to the woodshed by winning 3 of 4 scoring 7, 17 and 21 runs in their last three games. It was an offensive showcase unprecedented in the Yankees storied history.
As we go to bed on Sunday night, the Red Sox have a 7 1/2 game lead.
Even with that outburst, the Yankees LOST ground.
Manny is on a tear and have you noticed that Lugo and Crisp are contributing as well?
Noticed that not only have Okajima and Papelbon remained unhittable, but DelCarman and Lopez have been doing their jobs as well?
Noticed that Gabbard has been lights out, Lester is on the way and Schilling is healing?
Our hitting and pitching are improving?
Is THAT enough to quit your annoying premature panicking?
How about the fact that not only do the Red Sox have the biggest division lead, they also have the most wins in ALL OF BASEBALL?
Will that help untie that noose?
How about this fact? The Yankees are more than a week behind us? If they win EVERY GAME next week and the Sox lose EVERY GAME in that same week... the Sox are still in first place.
And yes, the Yankees went on a great run in June and now another one in July... but they haven't been within a week since May 9th.
They were 6 games out on May 9th... they haven't been that close since early May.
It's now late July.
And we have 13 more games with those same Devil Rays.
Look, there are some great exciting races going on in baseball right now. And they don't involve the Red Sox and Yankees!
A race means you check the standings everyday to see who is in first place. Since April 18th, it's been the Red Sox in the East.
The Dodgers and Padres change places. The Tigers and Indians have been neck and neck. The Mariners are breathing down the Angels throat, the Cubs are charging on the Brewers and Mets seem Hell bent on letting the whole division back in.
Those are races.
The AL East is just the net result of two annoying fan bases (which I am part of one).
In denial Yankee fans who can't come to grips with the fact that they don't have a playoff team this year...
And self loathing Red Sox fans who forgot that the "My God we're doomed" mentality should have died in 2004.
The sky isn't falling.
The lead is expanding.
THE MAGIC NUMBER IS 58