With 23 games remaining, the Red Sox currently hold one of the two spots in the AL Wild Card. The Red Sox sit a half a game behind the New York Yankees for the top spot. So if the playoffs started right now, the Red Sox would travel to New York for the Wild Card game.
The Wild Card is still relatively new in Major League Baseball, as it was first adopted in 1994, and it was changed to the current format in 2011. The Wild Card is played between two non-division winners with the best record in their respective league.
With the Red Sox being eight games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the division lead with just 23 games left, they would need a lot of help to catch the Rays for the division crown. So realistically, the top Wild Card spot should be what Red Sox fans are rooting for.
The teams the Red Sox need to keep an eye on are Mariners, Athletics, and Blue Jays. The Mariners currently sit three and a half games behind the Sox for the second Wild Card spot. With Toronto and Oakland each four games back.
Good news for the Red Sox
The good news for the Red Sox? They again will control their own destiny, which they have for the majority of the season. They had chances to bury the Yankees, as well as build their division lead on Tampa earlier this season, but fell short. This time, falling short is not an option, because that could mean falling out of the playoffs.
The Red Sox will see both the Mariners and Yankees prior to the season’s end. With series against the Rays, and White Sox also in that span, the Red Sox will need to win these series against the teams hot on their tail for the Wild Card spot. The Sox also need to take care of business against sub .500 teams. Boston will see the 43-92 Baltimore Orioles six times before the end of the season, they will also see 56-80 Washington Nationals three times. Those are nine games the Red Sox need to take advantage of.
Sox need to dig deep
The Red Sox are facing their most difficult hardship of the season in the middle of their Wild Card push. They have sent 11 players to the COVID-19 related injury list in just one week.
The Red Sox have stayed afloat, and have won six of their last ten games despite all the absences in their line-up. But it doesn’t get any easier. The next two series for the Red Sox will be the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays, and the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox.
The Red Sox split the series with Tampa Bay last week, in the heart of their Covid outbreak. So we know it is possible for this team to find ways to win despite being short handed.