The Boston Red Sox are in the thick of it right now.
After leading the American League East for several months earlier in the season, the team has cooled off considerably.
Boston has lost 13 of its last 19 games.
In the process, the Tampa Bay Rays have stolen the top spot in the AL East, and the New York Yankees have pulled even with the Red Sox in the standings.
Earlier in the summer, it looked like Boston was a lock to make the postseason.
That’s no longer the case.
The Red Sox lost both games of a doubleheader to the Yankees on Tuesday, allowing New York to match Boston in the standings.
Here’s what the American League Wild Card picture looks like right now:
- Oakland – 68-52 (0 GB)
- New York – 68-52 (0 GB)
- Boston – 69-53 (0 GB)
It’s three teams for two spots, and it’s anyone’s guess as to how it’s going to play out.
The Red Sox Had A 10.5-Game Lead Over The Yankees At One Point
Earlier in the year, it looked like the Red Sox weren’t going to have to worry about the Yankees.
Boston built a massive cushion—a 10.5-game lead over New York—and the Sox were mostly focused on their division battle the Rays.
But remarkably, Boston has blown its lead over the Yankees.
The double-digit advantage is gone, and that’s a shocking development.
The Boston Red Sox have officially blown a 10.5 game lead to the New York Yankees
— Pinstripe Junkie (@StripeJunkie) August 18, 2021
It started to feel inevitable over the past few days, and it became official when the Yankees swept the Red Sox in that aforementioned doubleheader on Tuesday.
The two clubs will likely find themselves battling each other for playoff positioning the rest of the way, and that should make for some extremely intense head-to-head matchups.
How Did Boston Fall This Far?
It’s no secret that the Red Sox are playing their worst baseball of the season right now.
For a group that looked like one of the best teams in baseball during the first half of the season, the past few weeks have been insanely frustrating.
It’s hard to peg the recent struggles on one area in particular.
Timely hitting has been an issue at certain points.
The Red Sox have an elite offense, but it has been all-or-nothing lately—20 runs one game and one run the next.
That’s not a great formula.
Some nights, that’s the problem.
Other nights, it’s a matter of a bullpen collapse.
It’s hard to win ballgames when you can’t confidently give the ball to your setup man or your closer.
Those concerns will need to go away.
The Red Sox simply lack mojo right now, and that needs to change.
The Yankees gained 9 games on Boston in 23 days. Since July 25, Boston went 8-14, Yankees went 17-5. Yankees and Red Sox are even now, both 5 games behind Tampa Bay.
— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) August 18, 2021
Red Sox fans are understandably frustrated with the way things have gone lately, but it’s important to put the season in perspective.
Before the year started, Boston wasn’t supposed to contend for a playoff bid.
Instead, the team is firmly in the Wild Card mix.
Sure, it’s hard to get excited about a potential Wild Card berth when the division title was right there for the taking not long ago, but playoff baseball is playoff baseball.
All you can ask for is an opportunity to survive and advance.
It’s time for Boston to lock in and take the Wild Card race seriously.