The level of consternation surrounding the Red Sox right now does not seem commensurate with their place in the standings. You can see why people worry. Their performance has been bad since the All-Star break -- they're 12-17 over the span. And, as Tony Massarotti argues, it is important to coast into the playoffs rather than scrap for a spot. (The 2007 Colorado Rockies would disagree, but Tony makes a strong point.)
Despite all of that, the Red Sox are a half-game behind the Texas Rangers in the American League wild card race with 45 games to go. According to at least one projection, they have a better chance of going to the playoffs than the Rangers, the team they trail after losing two of three to over the weekend.
Baseball Prospectus's Postseas Odds, compiled by Clay Davenport, tout the Red Sox as having a 38.2 percent shot of winning the wild card and a 3.7 percent glimmer of hope to overtake the New York Yankees in the AL East -- a 41.9 percent total.
The Rangers, meanwhile are given a 20.6 percent chance to win the wild card and a 19.5 percent chance to win the AL West. The total is 40.2, slightly less than the Red Sox.
Personally, I'd rather have the half-game lead.