Playoff Chances?

By Blaidd Drwg
In looking at the AL East standings this morning after the Sox swept the Mariners, you will see this:

W-L GB Games Remaining Home Road
Rays 88-57 17 9 8
Yankees 88-58 .5 16 7 9
Red Sox 82-64 6.5 16 9 7

The Yankees just happen to be leading the wild card race, so that means the Sox are also just 6 games back from making the playoffs. The 6 game spread between the Yankees and Red Sox seems pretty insurmountable with just 16 games left in the season, right? Well, maybe not.

One thing we need to consider is schedules – the Sox are 42-30 at home this season, so having more home than road games remaining is a big advantage for them. Here are the remaining schedules for the Rays, Yankees and Sox:

Red Sox Yankees Rays
Opponent G W-L Opponent G W-L Opponent G W-L
Vs TOR 3 73-73 @BAL 3 58-88 Vs LAA 3 71-74
Vs BAL 3 58-88 Vs TB 4 88-57 @ NYY 4 88-58
@ NYY 3 88-58 Vs BOS 3 82-64 Vs SEA 3 55-91
@ CWS 4 79-66 @ TOR 3 73-73 Vs BAL 3 58-88
Vs NYY 3 88-58 @ BOS 3 82-64 @ KC 4 60-85
Total 16 386-343 Total 16 383-346 Total 17 332-396

Obviously the Rays have the easiest schedule the rest of the way, even with the 4 game series in NY. I think if they split that series, the Rays effectively win the division. It gets a bit more interesting between NY and Boston. They both have 16 games left and play each other 6 of those times. The next 6 games or so will tell where the Sox destiny lies – if they manage to take 5 of the next 6 and the Yankees drop 3 of the next 6 (lets say they go 2-1 in Baltimore and 1-2 vs. TB), that would move the Sox to 4 back of the Yankees. Assuming they both have the same record in their non head-to-head match-ups, the Sox would need to take 4 of 6 to force a playoff, a scenario that is tough, but not out of the question.

If you asked me last weekend if the Sox had a chance, I would have told you no way in hell – they had just lost back to back games with the A’s in Oakland and had to come to Seattle where they typically play poorly. Well, after taking the last game in Oakland and sweeping the Mariners and coupled with the 2-8 stretch the Yankees are on, right now I am not so sure we should be burying the body – I think there might be a faint sign of a pulse there.

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