It was only three weeks ago, but so much has happened since the Yankees sent the Red Sox away with tails between legs:
- The Sox gained a half-game in the standings and cut their magic number in half.
- Clay Buchholz pitched a no-hitter.
- Mike Mussina crashed, burned and rose from the ashes.
- Jason Varitek gave lessons in how to be a captain.
- Rick Ankiel went from inspirational to embarrassment.
- Ian Kennedy and Jacoby Ellsbury blew up.
- Joba Chamberlain allowed a run.
So here we are again. Three games. It’s not quite do or die — the Red Sox, even if they are swept, benefit simply from shaving 20 percent of the remaining games from their schedule and still having a 2.5-game lead. But it will still be fun. I predict two wins from the Sox: A loss tonight, a win from Beckett in a duel and a shelling of Clemens and his elbow.
Consider this your afternoon thread as we count down toward the first pitch tonight.