Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Red Sox are in Complete Control of the A.L. East

Boston may still have something to "play" for. 
Seriously.  I know that sounds crazy, but it's true.  While Boston has no chance themselves to win the division, they have the power to chose who does.  Baltimore and New York have identical 76-59 records.  Tampa Bay is only 1.5 games back at 75-61.  Eighteen of the Sox final 21 games are against those three teams (6 vs each).  The Red Sox could lay down against one team of their choice and go 0-6, then compete against the other two.  Even if they went just 3-3 vs each club while trying to win, that would create a 3 game difference in the standings, and most likely be enough to give the A.L. East crown to whomever they picked.

Now lets take this one step further.  Oakland is also 76-59.  Three of those four teams will almost definitely make the playoffs (two via the Wild Card).  If the A's can stay hot, Boston could decide which division rival it would like to eliminate from the postseason altogether.  For argument's sake, let's say that team was the Yankees.  Here's a breakdown of the Sox last 15 games of the year: 4 in Tampa, 3 vs Baltimore, 2 vs Tampa, 3 at Baltimore, 3 at New York.  Hypothetically, what if the Red Sox headed to Yankee Stadium on October 1st in the midst of a 12 game losing streak.  There's a very good chance a win or two in the Bronx would send New York packing for the season.

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