Let’s not sugarcoat it: Last weekend was as bad as it could get for the Red Sox from a pure results standpoint.
Boston blew its two-game lead in the AL wild-card standings thanks to a sweep at the hands of rival New York Yankees, who are now 7-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between the teams after of the Sox. began 2021 with eight consecutive victories over the Bronx Bombers.
The good vibes from the team’s seven-game winning streak and the “yellow jersey” phenomenon? Out the window after Giancarlo Stanton and company … as well as Joe West, possibly – broke his back three games in a row with his season still on the line.
But all is not lost yet: Various playoff odds trackers suggest Boston still has a very good chance of making the playoffs with six games to play.
Latest CBS Sports MLB playoff odds give Red Sox a probability of 91.6 percent of reaching the postseason despite clinging to the last AL wild-card spot and having no chance of winning the AL East right now – the Tampa Bay Rays have already clinched their division title.
Much of that optimism has to do with the Red Sox’s next two opponents, as well as a potential stroke of good fortune relative to two of their closest competitors.
Boston closes its season with three games apiece against the Orioles who live in the basement and the Washington Nationals, the current last-place occupants in the National League East. A good season finale could secure them a spot in the wild card game.
On the other hand, the Yankees will face the Toronto Blue Jays, who sit just one game behind the Red Sox.
The Blue Jays couldn’t draw with the Red Sox after losing the series opener to the Twins, but they could make up for that against the Yankees. Plus, they get their own season finale series with the Orioles to improve their stats and put in an effort.
The Yankees, meanwhile, have to handle the Blue Jays and the division-winning Rays, which has to be why CBS, FiveThirtyEight and Baseball-Reference gave New York less chance of making the playoffs than the Red Sox.
Bottom line: The Yankees’ weekend sweep has to hurt pride a bit, but it hasn’t killed the Red Sox’s postseason opportunities. They continue to control their destiny.
If they take care of business against the Orioles and Nationals, it doesn’t matter what New York or Toronto does: the Red Sox will enter the wild card game and have a chance to reach the divisional round. With a little outside help, they could even organize that tiebreaker next week.
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