After getting swept away by the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, the once proud leaders of the American League East, the Boston Red Sox, now find themselves holding onto a Wild Card spot by only 3.5 games. Cue panic, rending of garments, mass hysteria and renewed memories of 1978 in the New England area.

Aside: This is the kind of stuff they did in 1978.

For those of us with an attention span longer than the last week, we’ll remember that this season started with much of the same worries when the Red Sox started the season by going what seemed like 0-30, but was actually 0-6, and then 2-10 after the first couple weeks.

While it may be exciting to think that of 16 games remaining on the Boston Red Sox schedule, four are against the Tampa Bay Rays, the team nipping at their heels, perhaps more important is that seven of those games are against the Baltimore Orioles. The Tampa Bay Rays also have seven games remaining against one opponent, but instead of division cellar dwellers, the Rays are about to get very familiar with the New York Yankees.

Red Sox fans shouldn’t be worried about making the playoffs, as they still have an 88.2% chance of making it compared to the Rays’ 11.4%. Instead, the panic should be reserved for what’s going to happen once they do get into the knockout stages.

Despite having three of the top six position players in wins above replacement in the American League, the Boston Red Sox starting rotation has used seven different pitchers in the last thirty days, four of them with ERAs over six. While concerns over the health of Josh Beckett’s knee may be allayed by a start on Friday, there are some serious question marks about the Red Sox starters after Jon Lester who has been lights out exceptional over the last month.

This becomes even more worrisome for Red Sox fans when we consider MLB’s new policy this coming playoffs which will ensure that off days only take place on travel days. This would make it very, very, very difficult for a team to rely on a three man rotation at any point during the post season. Assuming that Clay Buchholz can return in time it wouldn’t be surprising to see Boston’s playoff rotation include Lester, two pitchers coming off of injury and Erik Bedard.

While the fear in Red Sox nation may find an outlet with the team’s current slide, it’s spurred on and brought to the point of hysteria by the lack of other interesting races around the league. The real fear should be reserved for what happens in a best of five and maybe seven game series when the vulnerable parts of the team will truly be exposed.

And The Rest

I’m not normally one for the rah rah rah, but this makes no sense at all to me. Explanation?

The St. Louis Cardinals and Chris Carpenter agreed on a two year contract extension worth $21 million.

Moneyball director talks about his non-baseball baseball movie.

Washington Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg is human after all.

The jury is still out as to the humanity of recently called up Tampa Bay Rays pitching prospect Matt Moore.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have extended the contract of general manager Neal Huntington for three more years.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that the Minnesota Twins need Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau to play full seasons a whole lot more than they need better defense.

What will free agent pitcher to be, Mark Buehrle, do this coming offseason?

Buster Posey is back on a baseball field.

Former pitcher Adam Loewen hits his first big league home run as an outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays.

A.J. Burnett: record setter. And so are the Upton brothers.

San Francisco Giants reliever and owner of my favourite curve ball in baseball Jeremy Affeldt provides us with one more reason to make our own hamburgers.

A baseball book review, because we’re into those kinds of things.

Frenchy ain’t so bad with the glove:

Comments (7)

  1. I think Frenchy is starting to win you over.

  2. The Rays could still pass the Red Sox. We’ll know if we have a race or not next Monday, for sure, though. The only real difference in schedule between them is the Rays have 4 less games against the Orioles, one more against the Jays and 4 more against the Yankees. So, the real difference will be right after the 4 game set when Boston gets 4 against Baltimore in Boston and the Rays have 4 in NY. Tough, but not impossible.

    • Thanks for this stunning addition to the conversation.

      • I’m just saying Dustin doesn’t include the fact that the Rays ALSO have 3 against Baltimore and that Boston ALSO has to play the Yankees three times. The article makes it sound as if the Rays have the Yankees 7 times, the Bosox have Baltimore 7 times but Boston is done with NY and Tampa is done with Baltimore. The actual difference in games is 4, not 7 as it seems.

        • The Yanks are banged up too–they haven’t exactly been playing great baseball recently.

          What incentive do the Yankees have to play the Rays tough anyhow? I’m not saying they’d actually throw that series, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see their call ups get a *lot* of playing time.

  3. ok, the problem with the neat little calculation that Boston has “88% chance” or whatever is that it doesn’t take into account the (huge) human factor, and only looks at the numbers. According to the numbers right now, Boston is a .582 team, and TB is a .559 team. The 88% calculation is done with the assumption that the future will look more or less like the past for these two teams. But anyboy with half a freaking clue who is watching the games, knows that Boston is FAR from a .582 team right now, and TB is playing FAR above a .559 team right now. If one were to factor that in, that 88% is looking wildly optimistic. Based on the injuries/overall crappiness of the Sox right now, I wouldn’t be able to give them any more then 55%. They still have the advantage, but it’s nowhere near 88%.

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