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27 Days. 5 Games.

by Cameron on September 2 at 2:57PM | comments (1)
That's what the AL East race comes down to. With less than a month of the regular season remaining Tampa Bay has a five-game edge on the Red Sox, a stretch that is formidable though not entirely impossible to overtake.

Naturally, when trying to dissect the realistic possibility of a Boston chase down, one has to consider both teams' schedules first and foremost. Upon further inspection, we might be in for some interesting times.

horserace.pngWMYM doesn't want to bore you with an unneeded caption.
We trust you get the metaphorical reference.


Tampa Bay and Boston still have six games against each other remaining on the schedule. That means the Sox could chase down the Rays just in head-to-head matchups, though the parity between the two teams seems to make that pretty unlikely. However, Boston could get some help from some unlikely friends, with the Yankees still slated for six games against the Rays -- there are only three Red Sox-Yankees tilts left (the final three games of the season at Fenway) -- and Tampa facing a three-game set in Toronto in between two series with the Yankees and the two remains sets with the Sox.

That, friends, is a bruising stretch. Granted, the Rays have handled their Canadian counterparts this year, but they've struggled off and on with the Yankees. And, as WMYM has pointed out repeatedly, this is their first stretch run of any significance EVER. Seriously. They've never even been in a position to be significant spoilers in the past, which makes their schedule and the way they approach it all the more significant (by the way, we didn't even mention the four-game slate that the Rays have with Minnesota in the final two weeks, either).

None of this means that Boston will actually be able to make up the ground to catch Tampa. After the current series against the Orioles, the Sox get a weird three-game road trip to Texas -- yes, Arlington really is as hot in September as it is in August -- and then return for the home segment of the six-game Tampa two-step. The other games not played against Rays or Yankees? Ho-hum, just matchups with the Blue Jays, who have alternately infuriated and capitulated to Boston, and the blazing hot Cleveland Indians, who are putting on their best Colorado Rockies impression as we speak (Cliff Lee for Cy Young, anyone?).

But wait! There's still another team out there with a more realistic playoff run in than Cleveland -- a seven-game Wild Card deficit -- and the bats to go on a Rockies-like resurgence: the Yankees. That's right, folks, while last week seemed to deliver a bag-ful of body blows to the pinstripes -- all meticulously documented here and here, it's not completely out of the question that they could charge back into the playoffs. Sure, coolstandings.com has their playoff chances at a measley 1.4 percent, but what would their playoff percentage have been back in 1978?

That's right, they're not dead yet. Well, almost dead, but not COMPLETELY dead. Like that scene with Billy Crystal (appropriate, no?) in The Princess Bride. Add the Yankees into the mix, and we've got a crazy, long month ahead of us.

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1 Comments

[July 26, 2011 10:08 PM]  |  link  
Nike Dunk SB High Mens Black White Green Shoes said

The root of your writing, and sounding a reasonable start and no real solution for some time, and my personal right. Somewhere within the sentence, you make me a Unfortunately, only one, and believers. I still have a problem with your hypothetical leap, one might do well to fill in all these breaks. If you really can achieve this goal, I will certainly be surprised.


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