I am firmly of the mindset that a baseball team is not as good as it looks during its winning streaks and not as bad as they look during their losing streaks. Hot streaks, luck and slumps are part of the game, and believing every performance is representative of the team's true ability is fool's gold.
But how can you not be jazzed after last night's come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Indians?
With the Sox down to their last strike in the 10th inning, Alexei Ramirez and his sky high fly ball left every fan at the Cell holding their breath until the ball landed inches out of the reach of leftfielder Ben Francisco for a game-tying homer. Then Dewayne Wise and Orlando Cabrera showed there's more than one way to scratch out an extra-inning run with a disciplined approach of line drive singles.
It was certainly the most electric crowd I've stood with in Section 116 all season, none of whom even for a second sat down from the time Ramirez's big fly left his bat to the moment the team mobbed each other on the pitching mound in celebration.
The Sox are riding a 6-game winning streak, including their first-ever sweep of the Cubs at the Cell, and haven't lost at home since June 16. Yesterday's win was the most exhilarating of the season; the kind fans remember months later as the moment they knew their team had some magic.
Looking for a 2005 analog? How about the June 19, 2005 walk off vs. the Dodgers? It was just a little more than 3 years ago that AJ Pierzynski, wearing a 1959 throwback uniform, capped off a 9th inning comeback with a 2-run homer to fuel comparisons between the '59 AL champs and the '05 model.
Can last night's thriller do the same thing here in '08? We won't know the answer to that one until months from now. But one thing the Sox can do right now is finish off the 2008 Indians, who, at 11.5 games back and behind even the Royals, have watched their season reach the brink.
With a win against CC Sabathia tonight, a tall order no doubt, the Sox can bury the Tribe for good.