Do They Have A Chance?

Today is August 22, 2010  The Boston Red Sox are currently 7 games back of the New York Yankees for the American League East Division crown and 5.5 games back of the Tampa Bay Rays for the wild card berth.  They have 39 games remaining, 6 against the Rays and 6 against the Yankees including the season ending 3 game series at Fenway Park.  Logically the question, "do the 2010 Sox have any chance of making the postseason?"

There are several variables to look at when trying to figure out if you should invest your time in this team for the remainder of the season.  Clearly there are a number of obstacles in the way of the Sox.  The injury bug hit this team worse than probably any other team in all of professional sports in recorded history.  Jacoby Ellsbury has pretty much been out for the whole season.  They have lost perennial MVP candidates in Kevin Youkillis and Dustin Pedroia for the season as well.

They have overachieved this season staying in contention largely due to the play of Adrian Beltre.  But they have also been picked up at opportune times by guys like Darnell McDonald, Daniel Nava, Ryan Kalish, and Bill Hall.  Clay Buchholz is a Cy Young candidate.  Daisuke Matsuzaka and Jon Lester have been great as well.  The argument could be made that if it wasn’t for some bullpen problems and lackluster pitching from Beckett and Lackey, they would be the front runners in the AL East.

Looking forward the Sox have a schedule that would enable them to potentially catch either the Rays or the Yankees.  They have 6 games against the lowly Mariners, another 6 against the even more pathetic Orioles.  Also included in the remaining schedule are the Oakland A’s, Chicago White Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays.

The Yankees have a similar schedule but do have a series against the AL West leading Texas Rangers.  What also is in the Red Sox favor is Alex Rodriguez went on the disabled list today, taking a little but of punch out of the Yankee lineup.  The Rays have a fairly easy schedule the rest of the way with pretty much all their games being against teams with records below .500.  What favors the Sox is the Rays and Yankees do have 6 games left against each other.

The Sox can get by with the lineup they have been putting out there as of late because they have the best pitching in baseball.  However the starting pitching can’t be let down by the bullpen like it has been a majority of the season.  Only Daniel Bard instills faith in Red Sox Nation as Jonathan Papelbon is no longer who he once was.

The Sox can start their run next weekend as they take on the Rays in a 3 game set at the Trop with Dice-K, Buchholz, and Lackey taking the hill.  I have faith that the Sox can sneak into the playoffs.  The team has embraced the role of underdog and have been exciting to watch.  The last month of the season will be exciting and hopefully the Sox will be on the field rather than the golf course come October.

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