The magic number dropped again, and the Red Sox even had an off day. It now sits a 18 games. And, that’s true whether it’s against the Rays or the Yankees. So, it’s all set up.
The Sox have 10 games left, including six against the Yankees. The Rays have 10 games left. The Yankees have 9 games left. So, the Sox need some other teams to play poorly, and they need to play well. Obviously, the “easiest” way is for them to play well, and that almost takes care of the Yankees by default. The Sox are currently 7.5 games behind the Yankees. If the Sox win the rest of their games, they make up 6.5 of those games automatically. Then, the Yanks just need to lose one other game to Toronto to make up the rest. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Of course, the problem comes in if the Sox lose. If they lose against Chicago next week, it’s not the end of the world. They’d just need more help. But, if they lose a game to the Yankees, it’s all over. If they lose tonight, for instance, they’ll be 8.5 games back with 9 games left. Even if they win the rest, they’d still be 3 games back. They’d need to have the Yankees get swept by Toronto. I don’t like the sounds of that.
Naturally, there’s also the possibility of the Rays falling as well. But, their schedule is much, much easier than the Yankees. And, it makes the Red Sox rely on a lot of other teams. If, say the Red Sox win the rest of their games, but the Yankees sweep Toronto, the Sox would need lots of help from Tampa. They’d need to be swept by at least two of Seattle, Baltimore, or Kansas City. Frankly, if that happens the Rays don’t deserve the playoffs anyway.
So, I greatly appreciate the Rays smacking around CC Sabathia last night. Does this officially put an end to his Cy Young contention? I certainly hope so. At this point, all we can do is wait and see how it plays out.