ep 8, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Boston Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks (16) rounds the bases after his home run during the ninth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Yankees won 4-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Sox Can Deliver a Knockout Punch This Week

The upcoming week is the Red Sox’ most important week of the season and one that could seal the fate of all relevant teams in the AL East. After mauling the Yankees three out four games in the Bronx and padding their AL East lead – a 7.5 game lead over Tampa Bay, 8.5 games over the Orioles and 10 games over the Yankees – Boston is poised to deliver the knockout punch.

After getting Monday off, Boston will play a three-game set at the Trop against the Rays followed by their final series of the season against the Yankees in Fenway over the weekend. If they take care of business by wining each series it could very well spell the beginning of the end for all the teams chasing them.

With only 17 games remaining Boston’s magic number is 13. In short, some very bad things would have to happen for a very long time down the stretch for Boston not not clinch the division crown. If they win two out of three from the Rays, they score the double bonus and the magic number drops to 9 with 15 games remaining. If they win the series agains the Yankees and Tampa doesn’t go on a crazy tear the rest of the way, it’s game over man.

With Clay Buchholz taking the bump on Tuesday, a win in Tampa to start the series could be a huge emotional lift for a team already playing some pretty great baseball.

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