Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Red Sox Clinch AL Playoff Berth

For the fifth time in six years, the Boston Red Sox are going to the postseason.

They clinched an American League playoff berth by defeating the Cleveland Indians 5-4. The Red Sox handed likely AL Cy Young Award winner Cliff Lee only his third loss of the 2008 season. The game did go back and forth. The Sox took a 2-0 lead in the 4th on a two run home run by Kevin Youkilis. But the Tribe scored 4 runs in the 5th to take a 4-2 lead. But the Sox answered with 3 runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 5-4 lead. Jonathan Papelbon earned his 41st save when he got Victor Martinez to pop out harmlessly to shortstop Alex Cora.

The Sox could win the AL East but will most likely win the AL Wild Card. Should they win the Wild Card they will face the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the American League Division Series. The Sox swept the Angels in the ALDS both in 2004 and 2007. The Sox won the World Series in both seasons. However, the Angels are a much better team this season with Francisco "K-Rod" Rodriguez's 61 saves and they beat the Sox 8 out of 9 times in 2008. However, everyone in the postseason starts out 0-0.

The only thing to be determined in the AL is the Central Division. The Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins began a three game series tonight. Going into tonight, the Sox were leading by two and a half games. But the Twins won the opener 9-3. However, the Twins pretty much must sweep to stay in the thick of things. Regardless of who wins the Central Division Champion will likely have the unenviable task of facing the Tampa Bay Rays in the ALDS.

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