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The Red Sox are in 1st, but their schedule is ridiculous

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Monday’s Say Hey, Baseball includes a rough last three weeks for the Red Sox, the Pirates’ descent, and reasons to keep watching the Twins.

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

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The Red Sox are two games up on the Blue Jays and the Orioles in the American League East after taking two of three from the former this weekend. Any kind of lead is welcome at this point in the season, and especially in this particular season, given how stacked up the overall AL playoff picture is. With just three weeks to go, there are still 10 AL teams within reach of a playoff spot, but only five of those spots to go around.

While the Indians are seven games up and the Rangers have a 9.5 game lead, the Sox are just the two up, and are part of the wild card picture that features six teams within 5.5 games of the Red Sox. There's a tie between the O’s and Jays for the two wild cards, and four teams within 3.5 games of those two.

The Red Sox might look like they’re in a good place, but things could go wrong in a hurry for them, maybe more quickly than for some of the teams trailing them. Their schedule the rest of the way is made up — with one three-game exception against the Rays — of teams chasing them for the AL East crown or a wild card spot. They begin a three-game set against Baltimore on Monday, and face them in a four-game series next week, as well. They have seven games left against the Yankees, who are just four back of them.

Boston’s season ends at home against the Blue Jays, where the fate of the division or a wild card could very likely be decided. Things could also go right for the Sox in a hurry here: if they win or split these series, life becomes much more difficult for the Orioles, Yankees, and Jays. Boston certainly has the talent to put away the opposition and secure a postseason spot, but you could say the same thing about almost everyone they have left to face the rest of the way, too. It’s going to be a wild last three weeks for the Sox and the East as a whole.