This may shock you, but we are as bad as the New York Yankees.
It's hard to believe, but with the Yankees just 1.5 games back behind Boston in the AL East race, and the AL West playing well, we could quite possibly not make the playoffs. If we don't make the playoffs then that means the Yankees do, and Red Sox Nation would be heart broken after leading the Yankees for so long and so late.
Just think about the situation. If the Devil Rays manage to kick our ass in this next four-game series--and they can because they've been hot--we could be sitting in second place. It won't be fun, either. Let's just hope that teen freak Felix Hernandez goes 1800's style and starts three games against the Yankees in their series against the Mariners. That'd be great (By the way, I haven't mentioned Hernandez here before, but I have been raving about this guy. If you live under a rock and only follow the Red Sox, poke out for five minutes and go check out this 19-year-old's stats. He's a freak).
I personally won't be able to handle second place. The feeling that you get with your favorite team in first place can't be matched; especially when the Red Sox haven't won the division since 1995 under manager Kevin Kennedy's watch. The Yankees that year went 79-65 and were seven games back. I really wish that would happen again.
Are we really as bad as the Yankees? No. We are under-achieving. But the thing is, they are under-achieving also. Randy Johnson has an ERA in the 4's and Carl Pavano and Jaret Wright have spent a good amount of time on the disabled list. Although I think Johnson's career is over, and that he is no Roger Clemens, he is still better than the average pitcher and can light it when need be.
The way we'll need to win the division is offense. We have the best offense in the league and we can sit on it now. We'll need our pitching, of course, but if our offense is in a slump then we are in trouble.
Want to know my key player to winning the division? Keith Foulke. He doesn't have to be as good as last year, but something close to it will help us immensely. If he comes back and pitches like he did earlier in the season then we are done.
It's crunch time in baseball land.