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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.
- Yoenis Cespedes hit his 30th homer of the season, giving him his second 30-homer campaign in as many seasons. He also made this one a grand slam, and while you can watch this exciting moment on video, be warned that it has that awful Papa Slam branding attached to it.
- The A’s have released Billy Butler, who still had one year left on his contract but also was not the most popular or productive player in the organization.
- The Pirates’ descent continued on Sunday, and Bucs Dugout isn’t quite sure what direction the team is heading in.
- Pirates GM Neal Huntington believes Andrew McCutchen will return to form, which would help fix that little lack of direction issue in a big way.
- The Orioles defeated the Tigers on Sunday thanks to the return of Chris Tillman.
- David Ortiz passed Jimmie Foxx for 18th place on the all-time homers list in his last trip to Toronto, and now he’s just one shy of Mickey Mantle.
- Dusty Baker told Nats’ rookie starter Lucas Giolito to follow Max Scherzer around and learn from him.
- Here are 10 reasons why Twins fans should still watch their dumpster fire of a team over the last few weeks of the season.