September 18, Anaheim–Thanks to a Minnesota loss in New York, the Boston Red Sox are officially your Original Division champions in the Grand American League Rhubarb. The Sox had already won their game against the Angels earlier in the day, but their celebration had to wait for the Twins and Yankees evening game to conclude. The Boston players and coaches all stayed huddled in the locker room listening to the play-by-play from New York. It was not a tense game, with the Yankees leading from the get-go and winning 9-1. But the Boston players stayed subdued until the last out, at which point a raucous celebration erupted. Carl Yastrzemski jumped into the showers and emerged still half-dressed, lathered in soap, and with a stogie hanging out of his wide grin.
The Sox are also guaranteed to finish with the best record in the league, meaning they will host either Kansas City or Seattle for games one and two of the Rhubarb Championship Series on October 4th and 5th, and if necessary, games six and seven on the 11th and 12th.
Boston began the season dominating the league, shooting out to a 40-17 record and huge division lead in early June. But surprisingly, they sputtered a bit through June, July, and early August. Their superbly talented offense was inconsistent, their bullpen unreliable, and they saw what had looked like an unsurmountable division lead crumble and they spent several days in mid-August in second place thanks to surges by Chicago and Minnesota. That seemed to wake the club up, particularly their top hitter Ted Williams, who was not having a season that was living up to his lofty standards. Ever since, the Ted and the Sox have gotten back to dominating, and are on a 23-7 stretch to claim the division.
Boston will have the luxury of resting players and setting up their superb rotation however they like for the championship series while the Royals and Mariners engage in what promises to be a fight to the finish.