Could the Red Sox Miss the Playoffs Again?

As much as the Red Sox have run away with the AL East this season, the Yankees are now only 4 games back while riding the hottest streak in baseball. Additionally, the Yankees are only 1/2 game behind the Seattle Mariners for the Wild Card. Given that the Yankees have 6 more games left with the Red Sox, it is far but certain that the Red Sox have locked up the division…and even more enticing, they could even find themselves out of the post-season if the Yankees and Mariners continue to play like they have been.

Boston is only 3 1/2 games in front of the Mariners; could we see the Red Sox playing golf come October? Curt Schilling is back in the rotation, but it’s not like he was having a Cy Young season before he got hurt. Despite David Ortiz’s grand slam this weekend, he is clearly hurting…and Manny Ramirez is only getting older.

Eric Gagne has been downright horrible for the club and yet Terry Francona continues to pitch him…my thought: let him keep playing! That trade worked out better for the Yankees than it did anyone else.

The Yankees, who were called all but dead (and even dead by some people) in May now sport the sixth best record in baseball and continue to win at an amazing pace. I don’t think anyone would argue that it’s better to get hot in April/May than August/September. Clearly the Red Sox were hot early on, but they’ve come back to earth a little, no?

Remember when Kevin Youkilis was being called the next Wade Boggs? He was hitting .353 on June 1st and .329 on July 1st. Where is he today you might ask? How about .290 on the season. His OBP has dropped 40 points as well over that time. Let’s have this guy finish over .280 for the first time in his career before we start calling him the next Wade Boggs, who hit under .280 ONCE in his 18 year career.

I’ve also heard plenty about the Red Sox not scoring enough in Daisuke Matsuzaka’s (Dice-K for everyone in Boston who can’t even come close to pronouncing his name) starts and that he is pitching much better than the numbers tell. Well you know what? You need to score to win games, no matter who is pitching. Roger Clemens and Andy Pettitte both have ERAs under 4, just like Matsuzaka, and no one is lauding them for their unfortunate seasons.

I am hardly saying that the Red Sox won’t make the playoffs this year, just bringing up the simple fact that it’s not as given as it was presumed in May.

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