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Friday, September 17, 2004

The Lions' Den

The Red Sox march deep into enemy territory to do battle with the Yankees this weekend.

If they win the series, they can cut into the Yankees' AL East lead from 3.5 games and possibly put the division lead on the line in Fenway next weekend. A division title would likely force Oakland, Anaheim, or Minnesota to beat Curt Schilling or Pedro Martinez in Fenway Park. They could also possibly put enough distance between them and the two teams battling in the West (Texas is all but eliminated at this point) to effectively lock up at least the Wild Card.

If they lose, especially if they are swept, the Sox will have to continue defending their Wild Card spot from Anaheim and/or Oakland and face having to win a few on the road in the playoffs, something the Sox have been unable to do consistently this season.

Unless Hurricane Ivan interferes with tonight's festivities in the Bronx, the Red Sox will try to derail Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez's 8-0 run by sending Bronson Arroyo, whose plunking of A-Rod precipitated a bench-clearing brawl, to the mound.
Arroyo and Jason Varitek in particular will be targeted by the crowd.

The day that brawl happened, the lead was 8.5, appeared to be expanding, and if you had told me then that these games would be pivotal in the race for the AL East title, I'd have gladly taken it.


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