In a season following a World Championship, you should usually expect, at the very least, excitement. For the Boston Red Sox, their title defense has gone in the complete opposite direction to what they would’ve liked. After a tough start to the year, things finally seemed to be getting on track last month. However, a tough inter-divisional stretch has seen the champs drop further and further off the pace in the American League.
The Bitter Reality of This Boston Red Sox Season
Now at 60-56, the Red Sox are an extraordinary 15.5 games back of the AL East-leading New York Yankees. During a year which has seen the Yankees outperform the Red Sox in nearly every area, the Sox have had their fair share of chances to close the gap.
Over a stretch of four weeks, where Boston only faced divisional opponents, they faced the “Evil Empire” on eight occasions. Taking the first three of a four-game set, at Yankee Stadium, put them in a position to apply pressure on the out of form Yankees. However, since they dropped the series finale, everything that could’ve gone wrong has. That loss in New York kick-started an eight-game losing streak at a time where the Sox are playing must-win games on a night-to-night basis.
Getting swept by divisional and wildcard rival, the Tampa Bay Rays, set the pace for a four-game sweep at the hands of New York. On Monday night the Sox were able to snap the streak by beating the Kansas City Royals at Fenway but then dropped yet another disappointing game on Tuesday night. This stretch of games leaves the Sox not only 15.5 games off of the division leaders, but a grueling 6.5 games off the pace in the AL wildcard race — setting up a drastic last couple of months to an extremely tedious season for Red Sox fans.
Wildcard Spot Could Turn Things Around
By now, most Red Sox fans have little hope left surrounding the fate of the 2019 season. And if they keep playing .500 baseball, or go on another hefty skid again, that’ll be a wrap. But, with two months of baseball to play, there’s still a slim chance that the Sox can turn things around.
With the Yankees and the Houston Astros both running away with the East and West, respectively, the AL’s central division is a two-horse race between the exceptional Minnesota Twins and the chasing Cleveland Indians (just 1.5 games back). Therefore, whoever misses out on the Central, will likely be in a great position in the wildcard. As it stands today, that leaves the divisional rival Rays and the Oakland Athletics both ahead of Boston. And both teams are in better predicaments, right now, to make it to October. With the Texas Rangers and the Los Angeles Angels both sticking around, it’s not going to be easy for anyone to just make the wildcard game, let alone win the dreaded one-game playoff.
All the Sox can do is try and play their best baseball. If they can succeed in doing so, with the talent they have, they would have just as good a chance as anyone in making it to the postseason. Assuming the Red Sox creep into the wildcard game, nobody will want to play them, and they’ll have the same chances of making the ALDS as their opponent. If they did scrape through that wildcard game, then they’d be where everyone else is. No advantages, just playoff baseball — something this group has proved to be pretty good at. It sure has been a tough year, but it isn’t quite over. Not yet, anyway.
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