For the majority of the 2013 season the Boston Red Sox have been the clear team to beat in the American League East. That is still the case as they now are dealing with advances by the Tampa Bay Rays and to a lesser extent the Baltimore Orioles. With the superb additions around the MLB trade deadline one might think the Red Sox would step out to a much larger lead and put the A.L. East out of reach. That has not happened however and they are far from what they could call a comfortable lead.
The idea of having to fight for a division title is a little different than it was before the second wildcard spot was introduced last season. Now to accept the wildcard spot means having to win a dangerous and unpredictable one game playoff. That should lead the teams to want the comfort of the division crown much more than in the recent years since the initial wildcard spot was invented. The Red Sox are in a position where they need to buckle down and try to extend their lead as far as they can.
The Rays were charging hard for a while but are now back to three games out. The Sox are benefactors of a little good timing as well because their loss of three of four to the Kansas City Royals this past weekend came at the same time as a nice little slump by the Rays. The Orioles are not far back though they do not seem to have the consistency to fight for the division title. With the teams under them in a bit of disarray the Red Sox need to smell blood in water in the East and put the race out of reach.