The Red Sox clinched a playoff spot off the back of John Lackey's gem of a game. That's great. We're going back to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, and after the train wreck that was the 2012 Red Sox, it's a great feeling. It really is. But my wish, and the Red Sox's wish, is to clinch the AL East tonight vs. Toronto. They can clinch their first division title since 2007 (and we all remember what happened in 07) with a win OR a Tampa Bay loss. Clinching the division would be the ultimate step in getting the monkey from the end of 2011 and 2012 off the team's back.
Let's not forget that most analysts and even the fans did not expect this. Or maybe some in Red Sox Nation did, but I was thinking maybe a 3rd place finish at most. I did think they would be better than last year, but I was not expecting the Sox to be on the brink of a division title. I also didn't expect them to be 9 games ahead in mid-September. I kept expecting something to go wrong after 2011, but this is a different team and they don't have the problems of the 2011 team (cough*fried chicken and beer *cough). The chemistry is completely different this year, and it's a big factor in their success.
The Red Sox have been saying the right things, as they have all season, according to MLB.com. Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Dustin Pedroia both acknowledge that clinching a playoff spot is just the first step towards the ultimate goal. Salty said that it was a big win, but they still want the division and they want to get to 100 wins (but they would have to go 7-1 the rest of the way according to MLB.com).
Keep in mind that they still have to play 3 against Toronto, and a team with nothing to play for could be the most dangerous team to play against, as they have nothing to lose and they look at September as their October. So, the sooner they wrap it up, the sooner they can start preparing for their first opponent.
One more thing before I sign off - FEAR THE BEARDS!