These games count. If the Tigers won one more game early on in the season, they'd be in the playoffs last year with a rested Justin Verlander for games 1 and 5 of the Division Series.
And beating the Yankees in a game is important, and not just so I can write nasty e mails to my Yankee fan friends.
If the Red Sox and Yankees finish the season tied and both qualify for the post season then the one who had the most head to head wins would be named the Division Champion and the other one would be the Wild Card. The Division Champ would play an inferior opponent.
Think that scenario is far fetched? It happened in 2005. The Sox and the Yankees finished tied but because the Yankees head to head record was 10-9, it was New York that was the Division Champ. One more win would have meant the Red Sox would have been division champs and played the Angels (who the Red Sox owned) as opposed to the eventual World Champion White Sox.
But most importantly, the Red Sox started the season with a Dodged Bullet.
Last year I kept track of "Dodged Bullet Games" and "Teeth Grinder Games." The Dodged Bullet Game were ones where I gave up and thought "Man, we're going to lose this one" and the Red Sox came back to win. The Teeth Grinder games were ones where I felt like the Sox had it won... and then let it slip away.
I kept track of the two categories of games last season (with the final tally when the Sox won the Wild Card).
I did this not just for my own list writing mania, but because I wanted to get a sense to see if they let more games get away for losses or did they steal more wins.
If they missed the playoffs by only a few games, did they blow more games all year or was it more or less even.
I figured a clutch team would have more Dodged Bullets than Teeth Grinders.
In the end of 2009 the Red Sox had 26 Dodged Bullet Games and 28 Teeth Grinder Games.
Essentially they were -2 for the season.
I wonder how they will do THIS year.
Better start the tally NOW!
DODGED A BULLET GAMES - 1
April 4 - 9-7 win against Yankees (On Opening Night, the Red Sox overcome a 5-1 Yankee lead with a game tying HR by Pedroia and a go ahead passed ball.)
TEETH GRINDER GAMES - 0
So right now the Red Sox are +1.
The insanity has begun.
Let's go Sox.