Although the Boston Red Sox are not playing the New York Yankees this weekend, they are proving to be a spoiler for their longtime rivals. The Red Sox have lost two straight to the Baltimore Orioles, who are in a neck-to-neck race with the Yanks for first place in the AL East and/or one of the Wild Card spots. The Yankees lost to the Toronto Blue Jays yesterday 3-2 and the Orioles beat Boston 4-3.
The result is that Baltimore and New York are tied for first in their division also for a wild card. The Oakland Athletics now occupy the other wild card position. The addition of the second wild card in the MLB has certainly made the final week even more interesting than it has been in prior seasons.
In the AL, along with Baltimore, Oakland and New York, the Los Angeles Angels and the Tampa Bay Rays still have a chance to take one of the wild cards. In the end, with four games left, the Yankees could find themselves out of the postseason. It is absolutely true and as baseball fans know stranger things have happened.
The Red Sox play the Orioles one last time today and the Yankees finish their series against the Toronto Blue Jays. Then Baltimore plays Tampa Bay for three final games and the Yankees and Red Sox square off. That will be the season. In the West, the Angeles play the Seattle Mariners and Oakland must battle the Texas Rangers.
Oakland has drawn a tough final series, as they must battle what may be the best team in the AL. The Angeles may have the best chance for a sweep and to possibly take the Wild Card spot, as they meet lowly Seattle. Tampa Bay and Baltimore may simply eliminate each other, allowing two west coast teams into the Wild Card mix.
But what of the Red Sox? As far as records are concerned, this is the worst Red Sox team in over 50 years. However, Boston is always ready to play the Yankees. If they lose to Baltimore today and the Yankees lose to Toronto, tomorrow’s Boston/New York series in Yankee Stadium could be the start of a do or die stand for the Bronx Bombers.
I expect that the Red Sox, who are 5-10 against the Yanks this season, will do everything in their power to make sure their rivals are doing what they will be doing in the postseason—watching the playoffs on TV and playing golf. Remember, the games in the last series were very close with all being decided by 2 runs or less.