Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A September to Remember

I've never lived and died so many times with a team; everyday brings new hope or further despair. Last year was different, we cruised toward the playoffs and I didn't have to suffer nearly as much heartache. Yes, there was a small hiccup here and there as Cleveland was reeling us in, but we were still in control of our playoff destiny. Last year we were a well-oiled machine. This year we are sputtering toward the finish, losing bits and pieces as we crawl along...

BUT

there is still hope.

We may be sputtering at the moment, struggling against the likes of Kansas City and Tampa Bay, but so are our nearest competitors, the Twins and the Tigers. Since August the Sox are 17-16 (vs 15-18 for Detroit, and 18-14 for Minnesota), that's not exactly world-beating stuff. If any of those teams get hot, even relatively hot, they will likely be able to punch their tickets to the playoffs. I originally thought it would be a dog-fight to close the season, with all three teams playing close to .700 ball or something along those lines. Instead it's closer to a dog-fight with all three teams playing close to .500 ball.

The final full month of the season is upon us. It's go-time, it's time to turn it on, it's *insert sports cliche here*. The Sox are far from out of this race. They are a mere 0.5 game back in the Wild Card standings and only 5.5 behind the Tigers. Last year, the Indians stood 9.5 behind the Sox on Sept 7 and by Sept 22 were only 1.5 behind. They made up 8 games in 2 weeks; I feel confident that the Sox have the ability to put themselves into playoff position. Actually, I know they have the ability, but it is just a matter of digging deep and winning these tight ball games. The Sox need to suck it up and show some desperation; they need to show a sense of urgency; they need to develop the swagger they had last year. I know some people may dismiss those notions as cliches, but the Sox have the strongest lineup outisde of New York. The Sox rotation has the talent to pitch shutouts and deep into ball games, but outside of Garland no one in the rotation has shown that they give a damn. Freddy looks disinterested, Jose looks hurt, Javy looks mental, and Buehrle, well he's looking better.

No matter what, this will be a September to remember, that's outside of the Sox' control. What is in their control, is what this month is remembered for. September can be the month the Sox proved to be a one year wonder, or it can be the month that they regained their confidence and rolled into the playoffs.

Will we be heartbroken or filled anew with confidence in our team? We'll have to wait a month to find out, but I still have some faith left in this team. Go Sox!

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