I woke up this morning thinking, “I wonder if the Red Sox gained any ground on New York?” Answer: nope. The Red Sox remain 3.5 games behind the Yanks in the AL East. September 23-25 will be the last series the two teams play before the post-season. The question is, how much trouble is Boston in? The answer to this depends on those pesky Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston and Tampa Bay meet four more times this season. As of today, the Rays are 7 games behind New York. The initial favorites to win the American League are in trouble. There is no question the Red Sox have the talent to win. However, this five game slump needs to end tonight against the Blue Jays. Boston can take this two game series from Toronto. If so, they will have momentum going into the series with Tampa Bay. If they can’t win this series, then a Boston appearance in the post-season may not be guaranteed.
This of course doesn’t mean the Yankees can sit back and cruise into October. Boston is easily capable of challenging for the Division even in the current state of affairs, if they win the Toronto series. The window of opportunity for Boston, I feel, is rapidly shrinking. Of course, history is on the side of New York as Boston won only one AL East Title in the past 15 years. Needless to say the Red Sox need their stars to step it up. The AL East may just come down to the wire in the next two weeks.
If the East wasn’t enough to upset the stomachs of die-hard Boston fans, jump across the Continent to California and Texas. The Angels currently sit 5 games behind Boston for the Wild Card. Depending on Tampa Bay, the Wild Card may be out of reach for the Angels. The problem for Anaheim: the hard-nosed Texas Rangers. Here on the East Coast we tend to forget about Texas until playoff time when the Yankees, usually, beat the Rangers. I say usually because we can’t forget about 2010. September 26-28 will be the last meetings between Texas and Los Angeles.
In short, the Angels need Boston to lose. The Yankees need Tampa Bay to win…to an extent. Texas needs the Angels to lose and Boston needs everyone to lose. The American League is off to the races and this is great for the fans. If you by chance happen to be a fan of any of these teams and can’t take the heat, move to Detroit.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know what you think!
All statistical and historical data from espn.go.com and baseball-reference.com.