There’s a zero percent chance the Red Sox make the playoffs. Well, they technically haven’t been eliminated, but it’s a fair statement to say it’s not happening. All eyes are focused on the future, slogging through the rest of the regular season, then finding their new leader and setting on a course towards relevancy, and fast.
That’s not to say they can’t make things interesting over the course of their last four series.
Mission 1: Texas
The Rangers are in a neck-and-neck race with the Seattle Mariners to clinch the final Wild Card spot in the American League. Both are 82-68 as of writing this. If ANY team needs to win games to stay alive at this point, it’s the Rangers. Once with a seemingly insurmountable lead in the AL West, they’ve been on quite the downslide, now tied for second 1.5 games back of the Houston Astros. After this series, the Rangers play three against the Mariners at home, then finish on a seven-game road trip with three games in Anaheim and finishing off with a four-gamer...in Seattle. With seven games against your current archenemy coming up, every win for the Rangers is imperative. The Red Sox could serve that one decisive loss up to the Arlington natives that keep them out of the postseason.
Yes, I’m going to completely ignore the three-game series against the terrible Chicago White Sox.
Missions 2 and 3: Tampa Bay & Baltimore
Both the Rays and Orioles have clinched playoff spots after having tremendous seasons, one expected, one unexpected to a degree. Baltimore holds a two-game lead on the Rays at the moment. The Sox first face Tampa for two games at Fenway, where the Rays took three of four when they last visited in early June (yes, somehow it’s been THAT long since the Rays were in Boston). The Rays are currently in the midst of a series against the Angels, with our series on Jersey Street being sandwiched by a home and away against the Blue Jays. Toronto is fighting for their own playoff lives with a one-game lead on the last Wild Card spot. Every win is just as important to them. The O’s are finishing a series against the Astros, then head to Cleveland against a virtually-eliminated Guardians, then two against the terrible Nationals, and finished by four games against the Sox at Camden Yards. One schedule sounds a little friendlier than the other, doesn’t it? If the season ended today, the Rays and Jays would battle it out in the three-game Wild Card round at Tropicana. That’s one hell of a tough matchup, whoever ends up with it. There’s still some room for maneuvering and whoever ends up as the Wild Card team could end up facing Seattle or Texas as well. If it’s the Mariners? That might be just as tough, if not harder of a matchup than Toronto.
I’m not going to say I’m overjoyed to be watching the baseball the Red Sox are playing until October 1st. Honestly, it’s more of a countdown to a new future. The names being tossed out for the front office are equally as intriguing as scary; some with amazing credentials, some out of left field. That doesn’t mean the ball being played until the end can’t cause a little chaos.