The Red Sox have taken two out of three from the Yankees, Bluejays and now the Whitesox, they finally had a good road trip (10-6), and their pitching has been solid......yet they remain 5.5 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, 6 games in the all-important loss column.
Now I'm not ready to concede the AL East, not on the last day of August with a favorable schedule when compared with the Rays, but I'm just coming to the understanding that it is more than the Ray's young confidence, they're a damn good team that has been showing resiliency every night. When Crawford, Longoria and Percival all went down with injuries most everyone expected a drop in the standings....it hasn't happened. They continue to have players step up and their confidence has not faltered. Of late, Carlos Pena and Rocco Baldelli have help the Rays expand their lead on a Red Sox team that is playing good baseball. I'm not even surpries anymore, it's crazy, but I just assume the Rays are going to win. Somehow Rocco is still only 26 years old and showing signs of his "old" self...like the Red Sox, if this team can get healthy, look out. I would have felt much more confident in the Sox ability to come back and win the division if we were 2.5 or 3 games out going into September, but 5.5 with 27 games to go will be difficult.
A Red Sox AL East division championship will only happen if the Red Sox are able to catch fire and win 20 of their remaining games (possible), and/or the Rays severely stumble down the final stretch (doesn't seem as likely). While I don't like stressing over the Rays, Whitesox and Twins, I will still be happy if and when the Red Sox clinch a playoff spot. As we all know, anything can happen in October and if Boston is able to get even just a few players back (namely Beckett and Lowell), I'll feel great about going into playoffs as the AL East Champs or the Wildcard team, so long as we get there.
It's going to be a fun/stressful/interesting September....