How close are the Red Sox to being eliminated from making the playoffs?

Things have not been going well for the Boston Red Sox of late as they stand on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs.
Sep 3, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches
Sep 3, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale (41) pitches / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

After standing pat at the trade deadline, the Boston Red Sox were placed in a difficult position. They had to put together a pretty significant run in August to force their way into contention not just in the AL East, but in a stacked AL wild card race as well. Unfortunately, the Red Sox offense went cold in August and instead of contending for a playoff spot, Boston finds themselves on the verge of elimination from the playoffs altogether.

To gain a better sense of where the Red Sox stand in the playoff picture, we will turn to their current "bad magic number" and current playoff odds.

Boston Red Sox magic number and playoff odds

All numbers here are as of the morning of 9/8 and it is clear from looking at them that the Red Sox are officially in trouble. Not accounting for tiebreakers, a combined 7 Baltimore Orioles wins and Red Sox losses will eliminate Boston from the AL East race. This is hardly surprising given that the Red Sox are 16.5 games back, but it is still a harsh reality that Boston is likely to be eliminated over the next week.

The wild card race is a bit murkier given the number of teams involved. The short version is that as things stand now, the Red Sox are five games back in the wild card race and, assuming current standings hold, a combined 16 Blue Jays' wins and Red Sox losses would eliminate the Red Sox from the playoffs. That probably won't happen in the next week, but becomes very likely the week after that.

All of that adds up to some pretty dire playoff odds for the Red Sox. Fangraphs currently gives Boston just a 4.3% chance of making it to the postseason right now and you will struggle to find any other prediction engine that gives them better odds than that. Never say never, but it is looking more and more like Red Sox fans need to start shifting their hopes towards next season.

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