Red Sox eliminated from AL East division race by New York Yankees
By Sean Penney
The Boston Red Sox have officially been eliminated from the AL East race with their latest loss to the division-leading New York Yankees.
The streak of three consecutive AL East division titles by the Boston Red Sox has come to an unceremonious end.
Boston dropped their third straight game to the division-leading New York Yankees on Monday, clinching the series for their arch-rivals. The loss knocked the Red Sox 18.5 games behind New York in the division with 18 games remaining in the regular season, mathematically eliminating them from the division race.
The Red Sox opened the series with a masterfully executed bullpen game, holding the Yankees to one run in a 6-1 victory. Unfortunately, not even September roster expansion gives Boston enough bullpen depth to manage the bullpen game strategy on consecutive days. Rick Porcello followed with another six-run shellacking and now owns a 5.83 ERA that ranks last in the majors among qualified starters. Eduardo Rodriguez pitched well in the finale but didn’t receive his usual run support as the Red Sox were shut out.
The Yankees won 14 of their 19 games against the Red Sox this season. That’s the most lopsided winning percentage (.737) in a season between these two rivals since 1980 when the Yankees won 10 of 13.
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New York moves to nine games ahead of the idle Tampa Bay Rays. Their magic number to win the division is down to 10. Assuming they hang on to this comfortable lead, this will be the first division title for the Yankees since 2012.
The 95-50 Yankees are tied for the major league lead in wins and winning percentage. The Houston Astros obliterated the Oakland A’s 15-0 to keep pace with the Yankees in the race for home field advantage throughout the postseason.
Oakland’s loss means the Red Sox remain within eight games of the second Wild Card spot. Technically, that means Boston isn’t mathematically eliminated but this is a case where I can’t trust the math. It was never my best subject anyway.
The Red Sox were crowned AL East champions from 2016-2018. They won 93 games in each of the first two seasons of that stretch followed by a franchise-record 108-win season that culminated in a World Series title.
It’s fitting that the Red Sox were eliminated from the division race in their first game since firing president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. You don’t make Dombrowski the scapegoat for missing the playoffs if you believe you still have a shot at playing in October. His sudden dismissal signaled that the Red Sox were waving the white flag on this year. Ownership couldn’t wait until after the season to announce the move and the lifeless effort from a team with their backs against the wall shows the players are ready to move on from 2019 as well.