A dejected Joe Torre yesterday during the second straight Yankee smackdown. True, this would be a much sweeter picture in mid-October, but we’ll take it. By the way, why does he wear a watch at every game?

Yesterday’s win was beautiful. A perfect baseball day at Fenway for the final regular season confrontation of the biggest rivalry in baseball. And not only did the good guys win, and win big, they made the Yankees look bad. Kevin Brown and Esteban Loaiza proved themselves unworthy of post-season consideration, A-Rod did nothing but cry to the umpires and Jeter made a costly error (that could have been two errors) – although that wasn’t enough to wipe the smirk off his face. When things got ugly, it was New York seeming to show frustration playing beanball. Say what you want about Yankee tradition and professionalism, they have to be thinking hard about facing the Sox in post-season.

Mathematically the division is still within reach and the Sox should keep that goal in focus. Stranger things have happened and the prospect of playing a tough Twins club on the road should be enough to motivate the team and Francona. Despite what looked like a game of surrender on Thursday when Tito put Kim in the game, a win tonight puts the Sox 3 back with 6 to play. Not likely, but still possible with New York playing Minnesota and at Toronto (who just took 2 out of 3 from the Yankees in New York).

If the season finishes the way it has gone all year, would anybody be surprised by a tie for the division and a one-game play-in? For that matter, would anybody be surprised if the Sox won that game?