Playoff Clinching Fever
Last Monday, September 14, the Boston Red Sox could still see its AL Wild Card competitor the Texas Rangers in its rear view mirror. Since then, the Rangers have all but officially disappeared from the Wild Card race and playoff contention altogether. They fell from 4.5 games back of the Sox at the start of last week to 8 through games ending September 20, as a result of losing five of its last six games against Oakland and the LA Angels, whom they trail in the AL West division by 7.5 games.
Going into September 21’s games, the magic number for both Boston and Angels to clinch a playoff spot is 7. And the way the Rangers have been going, with its inconsistent pitching down the stretch and struggling offense without a healthy Michael Young and Josh Hamilton, they may just hand Boston the AL Wild Card spot and the Angels the AL West divisional title by this time next week.
Red Sox Record for the Week of September 14: 5-1
Boy, did the men from Boston pick the right time to put it all together and play its best month of baseball (so far). The Red Sox have won 10 of their last 11 games, 16 of their last 21 and have the second-best record in the big leagues (89-59) behind the New York Yankees (95-55). This hot streak doesn’t mean the Sox, who as of Monday are just four games back of NY in the loss column, now have a realistic shot of winning the AL East this season, of course, though it’s nice to see them put a scare into the once-extremely safe Yankees division lead.
Angels-Red Sox Series: Playoff Preview?
In a possible preview of the ALDS, two heavyweights, the LA Angels and Red Sox met up again last Tuesday through Thursday at Fenway, with the Sox taking two of the three games, the second of which was wild, entertaining, and highly controversial, to say the least. You could argue whether or not Boston’s ninth-inning two-out bases loaded pinch-hitter Nick Green checked his swing (as the umps ruled) or not with two strikes on him. But most Sox fans, Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy included, knew that Brian Fuentes’ 3-2 pitch to Green, called low for ball four to tie the game 8-8, had plenty of the strike zone for the last strike of the game.