Terry Francona couldn’t have scripted the weekend series with Baltimore any better himself. Strong starts by Buchholz, Lester and Dice-K, solid outings from the bullpen, and consistent power offense against a weak team. The sweep locks up the Sox for October baseball and in position to steal the division back from the Yankees. Although Sportsline sees it a bit different:

Boston (89-59) has won 10 of 11 as it zeroes in on the wild-card spot with its offense and pitching clicking. The Red Sox have averaged 6.5 runs while batting .323 with 18 homers in the last 11 games, while their starters have gone 7-0 with a 2.23 ERA – conceding 17 runs in 68 2-3 innings.

I’d say we’ve done more than “zero in” on the wild card, but whatever. Those numbers in the last 11 games speak of a team peaking at the right time. Meanwhile, the New York Post is ignoring any possibility of the Yankees losing hold on the division:

Three games against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium this weekend could provide the suddenly mediocre Yankees with an outside chance of clinching the AL East.

Really? The Sox play four against the 61-88 Royals while the Yankees head west to play three against the Angels. The final regular season showdown in the Bronx could just as easily tip the AL East back in favor of the Red Sox.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight, Tim Wakefield, Red’s choice for the Face of the Franchise, sets his crosshairs on the Royals. As long as the Sox haven’t forgotten how to his since yesterday, this is step one towards setting up an amazing weekend series against the Yanks. And one more quote from Sportsline’s game preview:

“That’s the key for me. I’ve got to go out there and pump the strike zone,” DiNardo told the Royals’ official Web site. “I can’t go dilly-dallyin’, throwing balls and walking people all the time, or I’m really getting in trouble.”

If we can’t beat a pitcher that uses “dilly-dallyin” in an interview, we don’t deserve the division.