Yeah, I don’t get it either. Here’s where we sit. The Red Sox Magic Number for winning the division stands at 21 games. The Red Sox Magic Number for clinching a playoff spot stands at 14. Let the countdowns continue!
Did the Red Sox have a great weekend? No. Did the Yankees have a great weekend? No. Did the Rays have a good weekend? Yes. Does it mean much of anything? No.
The Red Sox trail the Yankees by 3.5 games. For some reason, some people seem to think this is an insurmountable lead with only 16 games remaining. Why is it, then, that those same people thing it’s an almost certainty that the Rays will erase their 3.5 game deficit to knock the Red Sox out of the playoffs? Because the Red Sox have lost a couple games? I’m fairly certain every team will lose a few games. I’m fairly certain that every team has lost a few games. Just because a team loses doesn’t mean they’re doomed.
The Red Sox are a good team. No. The Red Sox are a great team. If they lose a game, it doesn’t change that. Are some of the players in a rough patch at the moment? Yup. Are some players playing well at the moment? Yup. Is that always the case with every team? Yup.
A quick look at the numbers should really be enough to quell anyone’s fears. People are actually worried about the Rays catching the Red Sox. The Rays have seventeen games left. An astounding nine of them are against the two best teams in the American League. Six of those nine are on the road. Why is it suddenly a sure thing that they will make up 3.5 games?
Now, I get it. Some time ago the goal of a newspaper changed. The goal switched from reporting the news to selling advertisements. They need to sell newspapers, even when there’s nothing to report. So, I get that reporting “Sox on the way to the playoffs” for 30 days in a row gets stale. They need something else in order to attract readers. So, if there’s nothing there, they need to invent something. It’s the same reason that newspapers in Spring Training report that a player is struggling since he only hit one home run in 15 batting practice swings. They need something. Contrary things sell better than not. So, they can’t say the Sox are cruising to the playoffs. They have to be the ones who will tell you that they might not. Heck, they’ve been doing it since opening day!
It doesn’t mean we have to listen to them.