Friday, September 16, 2011


View the complete up to the game Wild Card Standings here.

The last time New Englanders were this nervous, Paul Revere was riding around shouting, “The British are coming, the British are coming”! In 2011, there is a tropical storm know as The Tampa Bay Rays that has just landed on the shores of Massachusetts.

For the majority of the season, the Red Sox have either led the American League East or been the wild-card leader. Well, they’re still the wild-card leader but that lead isn’t much to smile about these days if you’re a member of Red Sox Nation.

Just two weeks ago, Boston’s lead over the Rays was nine games back on September 3rd. The Red Sox were riding high, in first place over the Yankees and Tampa was an after thought. But the dog days of August passed and a September swoon has hit Fenway Park! Boston is a pitiful 3-11 this month and has watched the Bronx Bombers pull away in the division. But the bigger problem is now the Rays rest just three games behind and Boston is in serious danger of choking away its wild-card position and the post season!

Just how serious has it gotten? Well Tampa stung the Sox last weekend in Florida, sweeping a three-game set. Last night in Boston, Jeremy Hellickson led the Rays to a 9-2 win, surrendering just three hits and one run in 5 and 2/3rd innings for the win. That was just game one of a four game series this weekend in Beantown! The Rays could actually roll from Yawkey Way with the wild-card race tied if they can sweep! A month ago this would have been unheard of! It’s certainly not out of the question either, considering Tampa has won 10 of the 15 head to head games against the Sox this season. Trying to ease the minds and souls of the Boston faithful tomorrow will be ace Josh Beckett. He returns from an ankle injury but is scheduled to start against Tampa’s James Shields who just beat Boston last weekend at Tropicana Field.

So with a three game lead and just 13 games left to play the numbers still favor Boston don’t they? Not really. The Sox are hitting just .178 against Tampa Bay pitching. That’s the lowest total for a Red Sox team against any opponent, playing at least ten times in 65 years! At Fenway Park that number gets lower to the tune of .162. So besides just hitting the baseball, what else is ailing the Sox? How about back spasms to Big Papi, a sports hernia and bursitis in his left hip that Kevin Youkilis is trying to play through. Beckett has the twisted right ankle and Adrian Gonzalez is dealing with a bad leg. Not the way you envision the end of a season leading to a playoff run. But there is one saving grace for Boston fans ready to take a walk and a leap off the upper deck of the Tobin Bridge into the Mystic River to end it all: the New York Yankees. While the Red Sox play the Baltimore Orioles in seven of their last ten games after the Rays series, Tampa faces the Bronx Bombers in seven of their final ten games. Four of those meetings come at Yankee Stadium as well. So the schedule favors Boston, no matter what happens the rest of this weekend. But if the Red Sox don’t find a way to beat Tampa or start winning some games in the month of September, it won’t matter who the Rays finish the year against. The Orioles will be playing the final days with nothing to lose, kind of the same thing Tampa was doing just a few weeks ago!

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