When the lead in the AL East slipped to a tenuous half-game, everything changed. All of the beauty and magic of last October were forgotten. Wives across Red Sox Nation began hiding sharp objects and nailing open garage windows. The people you’d seen just days ago at the supermarket or dry cleaners who nodded and smiled were now glaring at you, mouthing something that looked a lot like a death threat. And yes, people began using the “C” word. It was panic time.

Last night was a reminder to us all. A little wake-up call. Summer is over, fall is upon us, and that means playoffs. That means no more cruise control; every at-bat, every swing, every play could be the one that sends you home early. So you better bring it, and bring it hard. And they did.

Ortiz: 4/5 with 2 homeruns and 4 RBI
Manny: 4/4 with 2 homeruns and 3 RBI
Trot: 4/6 with a homerun and 3 RBI
Tek: 4/5 with 2 RBI
Schilling: 7 innings, 2 ER and 7 strikeouts

And the list goes on. It was a relentless onslaught the likes of which we haven’t seen in a while. And it was exactly what we needed, when we needed it.

I remain calm. Sure the Yankees won again, but it took everything they had to hang on. Meaning Rivera pitched again, and honestly, how much can he have left? I stand firm on my belief that the division is ours. If I learned anything last October, it was faith.

Perhaps the most refreshing part of last night’s win was the dugout shots. Edgar, Manny and Ortiz chillin’ out in the late innings. Yes, I even saw some head-rubbing. Good times. They need to stay loose and play loose, and there will be more games like last night. Perhaps the Kevin Millar team meeting just took a day to kick in? One more game, one more win, and the guys get a much-deserved off day. Hang on tight.

Without faith, nothing is possible. With it, nothing is impossible.~Mary McLeod Bethune