Seven-and-a-half games. It can be done. The long-awaited streak is here and this team is poised to make one last run at the division. If the season is “a marathon, not a sprint”, we have reached Heartbreak Hill and the Yankees just might be tiring.

With some help from The Lineup, Pedro finally got a win over his unlikely 2004 nemesis in the Orioles. He pitched superbly through 5 but struggled after a long delay in the sixth. He was eventually pulled with one out in the seventh.

Offense has not been a problem for the Sox who have scored 39 runs (52 hits) in their last 4 games. Gabe Kapler, who will be getting a lot more playing time with Nixon out indefinitely, has really stepped up. Through pure hustle, he turned a single into a double, and he continues to make the plays in the field.

The real story of the win streak has to be Mr. Cowboy Up himself, Kevin Millar. He was finally able to escape his alien abductors and replace the artificial unintelligent robot-model that had been playing in his place all season. Of course, we at survivinggrady knew this was coming, so whoever posted that “Millar should not be in the lineup. Period.” article last week under my name, please apologize.

Seven-and-a-half games. Here’s how it should happen. We end the season tied with the Yankees and the result is a one-game playoff. The Angels and Oakland both have better records, so only the winner of the East makes the post-season. Pedro and Randy Johnson put on a pitching show for the ages, neither giving up a hit. Torre pulls Johnson in the bottom of the ninth in favor of Rivera in a scoreless game. Rivera gets the first two batters with Pokey on deck. Mirabelli steps out of the dugout with a bat to pinch hit. A thin long-haired man with small, round spectacles (who looks oddly familiar) stands up in the first row and begins singing.

“All we are saaay-innng, is give Reese a chance”

All of Fenway is on their feet joining in. Francona looks stunned. As he looks toward Pokey to call him back, his face seems to shimmer and morph, and doesn’t he look kind of Grady-esque? The chant has reached a thunderous level and Francona who once again looks like Francona calls Mirabelli back and gives Pokey the nod. On a 3-2 pitch, Pokey hits a towering high fly ball. He tears out of the box full-speed as the ball continues to climb. Matsui is planted on the warning track as Pokey approaches second in a blur of white. A slight breeze – where did that come from, there was no breeze all day? – pushes the ball further back as Pokey rounds second. The ball scrapes the wall and Matsui steps back to play it off the wall. He fields it perfectly and spins and fires a bullet towards the plate as Pokey rounds third. Now it is a sprint, not a marathon. Reese dives head first as Matsui’s strike smacks into Posada’s glove and he sweeps the tag. Too late! The crowd erupts into the annoying “Yankees Suck” chant as the Sox hoist Pokey on their shoulders for a victory lap.

It is thoughts like this that keep me coming back…