Call it a long shot that the Red Sox will make the postseason, given they are 5.5 games back in the Wild Card and have to surpass at least four other teams to get there. But if there is one thing that baseball has taught us, is that anything can happen. Dare I bring up last September?
Yes, the dog days are upon us and with it comes a sense of urgency, at least we hope the Red Sox feel that way. This sub .500 ball club is more streaky than Will Ferrell in Old School, but yet a slim chance remains thanks in part to their schedule that lies ahead.
Currently Tampa Bay and Baltimore own the two Wild Card spots with Oakland, Detroit and Los Angeles well within range. The bad news is that the Sox have to climb over four of those clubs, but the good news is that they will have many chances to go head to head with those teams directly in front of their playoff dreams. And it begins Tuesday in Baltimore.
The Sox will open up a three game set against the surprising Orioles, a team that many thought would have folded up camp by now and limp into September with another season being lost to disappointments and what ifs. But here they are, defying the odds and the critics and the Sox could learn a thing or two from their divisional opponents. Call it a must win series if you will.
After Baltimore the Red Sox head to the Bronx and while many would immediately frown, shake their head and admit defeat before the work week has even begun, keep in mind this is a Boston team that rolled into Yankee Stadium roughly three weeks ago and took two of three. Given the Yankees just put CC Sabathia on the DL, they may be ripe for the picking yet again.
The Sox will then take on the Los Angeles Angels six times in the final two weeks of August, three at home and three on the road, so ground can certainly be made on the Halos. Follow that up with three against the Oakland A’s, who like Baltimore are doing things they aren’t supposed to be doing and suddenly the Red Sox can make some noise.
The Sox schedule in September, after the trip out west, is entirely against divisional opponents which includes six games against Tampa Bay and six more against Baltimore. Feeling a little more optimistic?
In total that’s 24 games all against team’s currently ahead of them in the standings. While Detroit isn’t on the schedule, keep in mind the Sox only need to pass four of the teams, not all five to make the postseason. If Jon Lester can build off his stellar outing and return to his once dominating ways and the Sox can get some key players back from injury, namely David Ortiz, then this season isn’t dead just yet. With Andrew Bailey likely to return to the big club in the coming week and if Daniel Bard can figure out his sporadic ways, the bullpen will be the beneficiary of some fresh arms.
Call it a faint heartbeat, one that barely resembles a pulse. Call it an internal optimist that maybe is more of a dreamer holding onto that glimmer of hope, but these Red Sox are still alive if they choose to be and it all starts in Baltimore.