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Red Sox vs. Yankees lineups: Stretch goals

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It's time for the Red Sox to set their sights just a little bit higher.

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The Red Sox' ability to personally eliminate New York is out of their hands, thanks to the Jays playing the first game of their doubleheader early today, but the job there is done. Two wins against New York was enough to essentially doom them to a wild card game, even if the final mathematical elimination will have to wait for another day. Now it's time for some unlikely stretch goals.

Mookie Betts - CF Jacoby Ellsbury - CF
Dustin Pedroia - 2B Chase Headley - 3B
Xander Bogaerts - SS Alex Rodriguez - DH
David Ortiz - DH Carlos Beltran - RF
Travis Shaw - 1B Brian McCann - C
Brock Holt - RF Chris Young - LF
Blake Swihart - C Greg Bird - 1B
Deven Marrero - 3B Rob Refsnyder - 2B
Jackie Bradley - LF Didi Gregorius - SS
Wade Miley - LHP Masahiro Tanaka - RHP

With five games to go, the Red Sox are 77-80. 80 is a lot higher number than we all might have hoped, but it's also not 81, or 82. Those milestones have yet to be hit, and with only five games, there's actually some chance, however small, that they won't be. The Red Sox could end up a .500 team. They could end up a winning team. All they have to do is, well, exactly what they've done through their last five games: win.

Easier said than done, particularly with Masahiro Tanaka on the mound for the Yankees. But stranger things have happened, and happened recently. Craig Breslow started a shutout for the Red Sox, for crying out loud!

Yes, the Red Sox could actually get this done. It's not likely. And it's not going to change that this season was, ultimately, a disappointment. But it would certainly be nice.

First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. ET with broadcasts on NESN and WEEI.