Skeptics said we couldn’t split this last series with New York. A split would do nothing for the 2010 Red Sox—a team familiar with third place. We needed to take 3-out-of-4 from the Yankees to start making moves in the AL East standings.
So, of course, we were destined to split the series from the very beginning. This outcome isn’t exactly disheartening; especially with the action our disabled list has seen this summer. The Yanks have the best record in baseball right now. To me, the series is less a disappointment and more a synopsis of how the entire season has gone for the Sox.
They can’t do enough to make a serious run at first place (or even the AL Wild Card spot), but they can do just enough to keep the fans hanging on. I know my last post blathered on about how this team excels at being the underdog, but it’s a lot easier to be onboard with that mentality in early June than mid-August.
In a perfect world, the Red Sox would be coasting with less than 50 games to go. But this is the real world, and Boston is part of one of the toughest divisions in baseball. They are going to have to fight for a playoff berth. A battle that could last until the first few days of October.
I have serious doubts about the Evil Empire faltering in the wake of George Steinbrenner’s death. New York wants to win this year’s title for their late patriarch. So for now, the majority of Boston’s hope will have to lie in the instability of the Tampa Bay Rays. From their red-hot April to a sobering 11–14 record in June, Tampa’s offense has been fittingly described by manager Joe Madden as “schizophrenic.”
Kicking off the month of August with a five-game losing streak proves the Rays can lose big late in the season. But as with every team, there are softer spots in their schedule over the next eight weeks.
The Yankees or the Rays choking would sure make things easier on us. Sadly, it looks like the only way we’re making it to the playoffs is by focusing on one game at a time. Hot streaks are nice, but chipping away at a lead is more efficient. The Red Sox just have to be patient.
We may have split the series, but I don’t feel like we’re out of the race. Not by a long shot.