The Red Sox win the AL East—the hard way

A champagne shampoo for the AL East champion Red Sox . . .

A champagne shampoo for the AL East champion Red Sox . . .

Nobody has ever accused the Red Sox of doing things the easy way. Why should clinching this year’s American League East be any different? Of course, the Red Sox don’t necessarily see it that way.

We didn’t play meaningful baseball games at the end of the year last year,” says David Price, moved to the bullpen of late after a few hiccups and elbow issues as a starter this year. “You play meaningful baseball games for 160 to 162 games, that keeps everybody on their toes.”

So, what’s in the (wild) card for . . . the Twins?

An Angels loss Wednesday handed the Twins an American League wild card, but their surprising comeback may run into a roadblock out of New York or Boston in the wild card game . . .

An Angels loss Wednesday handed the Twins an American League wild card, but their surprising comeback may run into a roadblock out of New York or Boston in the wild card game . . .

The great baseball trivia questions of the rest of this century will include, “Name the American League team who clinched the second wild card after trading their closer at the non-waiver trade deadline the same season. Hint: They’re also the first team to lose 100+ one year and make the postseason the next.”

Dealing the last wild cards, and hearing the last of a lyricist

What does it say that Vin Scully was shown the love even by the Giants' home audience?

What does it say that Vin Scully was shown the love even by the Giants’ home audience?

Vin Scully ended his broadcasting career in the home ballpark of the Dodgers’ age-old rivals, receiving an affectionate pre-game visit from Willie Mays, awash in a sea of placards (THANK YOU VIN) and maybe the only known standing ovation ever afforded a Dodger in San Francisco. His final words were as gracious as you might have expected from this excessively modest man who always seemed to believe his gift from God was merely something on loan.

Even the Yankees are only human

Yankee manager Joe Girardi before the wild card game. The Yankees lost to the Astros, 3-0.

Yankee manager Joe Girardi before the wild card game. The Yankees lost to the Astros, 3-0.

Realistically, the Yankees weren’t even supposed to be in the postseason this year. That’s how they were seen coming out of spring training. Then, inexplicably to some, they began looking like postseason contenders and maybe even a World Series entrant.

Why, there was even a period when they had first place in the American League East. Then, after they had to settle for wild card number one as the Toronto Blue Jays put on a tremendous surge, they got bumped out of the American League wild card game with barely a whisper at the hands of Dallas Keuchel and the Astros.

A wild card for the strangely human Yankees

Masahiro Tanaka (giving thumbs up) and assorted Yankees have a champagne party . . .

Masahiro Tanaka (giving thumbs up) and assorted Yankees have a champagne party . . .

Never mind that Yankee fans believe the postseason is nothing less than their birthright, that any season the Yankees don’t show up in the postseason is an illegitimate season. When Dellin Betances drove a swinging strikeout into the Red Sox’s Josh Rutledge Thursday night, to keep the Red Sox from sweeping them in their next-to-last set of the season, the Yankees got somewhere they haven’t been in two years and nobody earlier in the season thought they’d be this time.