At first glance, this game looked like it might be a perfect reason for implementing the slaughter rule in Major League Baseball (a rule the Yankees probably would have appreciated last night). Give the win and the sweep to the Sox, put it in the books as 1-0 to save the D’Rays some embarrassment, and move on. But looking at what Mr. Jackson has done recently, it may not be the slam dunk I thought it would be. The guy has been a machine in his last few starts, perhaps contributing to Curt Schilling’s desire to head south and adopt the entire Tampa Bay rotation.

I just read that paragraph and slapped myself in the face (except for the Schilling part, because just what any team in a pennant race needs is a controversial distraction). This is the Boston Red Sox versus the Tampa Bay Devil Rays! Anything less than a sweep would be like getting caught watching Desperate Housewives by one of your buddies – when your wife isn’t even home.

Can you imagine Dice-K walking into the clubhouse after being beaten by Tampa? Lester and Wakefield would be sitting there giggling uncontrollably as Wake recounts the time “back in the day” that Tampa scored a run off of him. Francona would just sit there, eyes glazed over, with that big lump of whatever-it-is in his mouth, feeding page after page of Carl Crawford scouting reports into the shredder. It just can’t happen.

So we sit calmly next to our life-size cardboard cut-outs of Curtis Leskanic and wait for 7:05.