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Are the Red Sox really lurking?

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 17, 2010 11:00 AM

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The New York Post is officially worried about the Red Sox.

"September skid puts Yankees' once-certain playoff berth in jeopardy," said one of their headlines today.

"Red Sox lurk," screamed another.

The Yankees have dropped eight of their last 10 games and now lead the Sox by six games in the AL wild card chase. The teams have six games left against each other ...

It sounds good. But those unsentimental smart guys at Baseball Prospectus have done a million computer simulations of what could happen and they give the Red Sox only a 3.7 percent chance of making the playoffs. Still, that's up 1.035 percent from seven days ago.

A few of you have e-mailed to ask whether the Red Sox have given up. The fair answer to that is no, they haven't. Those who should be playing Adrian Beltre, Victor Martinez, David Ortiz, etc. are playing every day. The rotation has stayed intact and guys like Marco Scutaro are fighting through injuries to stay in the lineup.

But we are seeing more of Josh Reddick, Yamaico Navarro and Lars Anderson than we would be if the Sox were one game out. And nobody was leaning on J.D. Drew to hustle back when he missed four games with a sore ankle. Terry Francona said it well the other day they're drawing up lineups that look like they have a chance to win.

The Red Sox are paying the price now for the sins of July and August and the Yankees are reaping the rewards for having played well.

The Yankees are 88-58. If they go only 6-10, they finish with 94 victories. The 82-64 Red Sox would have to go 12-4 to tie them. What about this season leads you to believe that the Sox will play .750 baseball the rest of the way?

Just for kicks, here is what each team has left:

RED SOX
Toronto (3)
Baltimore (3)
at New York (3)
at Chicago (4)
New York (3)

YANKEES
at Baltimore (3)
Tampa Bay (4)
Boston (3)
at Toronto (3)
at Boston (3)

As for the Rays, forget them. They have a cakewalk the rest of the way:

Los Angeles (3)
at New York (4)
Seattle (3)
Baltimore (3)
at Kansas City (4)

What this really says is that the Red Sox will long regret the injuries that derailed this season. The American League was there for the taking if not for the loss of Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

The Yankees aren't all that good and neither are the Rays. The Sox were nothing special, either. And as bad as the AL is, the NL is worse. The whole deal was there, waiting to be plucked. Had the Sox managed to keep just a few more players healthy, who knows what would have happened?

Meanwhile, if you want to smile, Manny Ramirez is 12 for 41 with no extra-base hits and no RBIs in 14 games with the White Sox. All that for only $3.825 million. The White Sox are 7-7 since he showed up and now trail the Twins by nine games.

See? It could be worse.

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