A very crucial stretch for the race for the Wild Card starts tonight.
Red Sox fans and analysts have said several times throughout the season that certain games were must-wins. I think all of us can agree that every game during this seven-game set against the Twins and Yankees are must-win games.
The Red Sox currently sit 5.5 games out of the 2nd Wild Card spot with 25 games left to play. The teams that hold the Wild Card spots are the Rays and the Indians. With the Indians starting to experience several injuries, it’s very possible that the A’s or the Red Sox slip in there. The Red Sox are at a disadvantage given the A’s 4.5 game lead on them and the Athletics’ not-so-difficult schedule the rest of this season. With the current projections, the Red Sox will have to go 20-6 this month to beat the A’s in the Wild Card chase.
It’s completely feasible for the Red Sox to play their best baseball of the season this month and slide into that Wild Card game. But, they will have really no margin for error and have to treat every game like a one-game playoff. That strategy is going to get difficult this week against two of the best teams in the MLB.
One of the important keys for the Red Sox will have to be their starters going deeper into games. It’s been a problem all season, but especially as of late. The starters hand the games over to the bullpen guys and they are expected to pitch several innings day in and day out. Many guys that are in the bullpen right now are taxed physically and will be pretty rusty in their performances. Hopefully, the recent September call-ups will provide more pitching depth which could give some guys rest.
Like, I previously mentioned, it’s not going to be easy for this team to catch up in the standings, but it’s possible. This series will ultimately decide whether or not they will have a chance to do that or not. If the team goes 6-1 this week, they will be in pretty good shape, but if a disaster occurs and they finish this week 2-5, the season is pretty much over. It’s do-or-die time for the 2019 Boston Red Sox.
In the Twins series, the Red Sox offense will have to face Randy Dobnak, Jose Berrios, and Martin Perez. The matchups are TBD for the Yankees series.
Photo Credit – Michael Dwyer / Associated Press