NEW YORK — Starting tonight against the Yankees, the Red Sox have 63 games remaining in their season.
Last season was ample proof that most anything can happen in baseball. But does a 49-50 team have a reasonable chance of making the postseason?
Let's take a look at some schedule factors:
Home games left: 28
Road games left: 35
Games left against teams with a winning record: 46 (73 percent).
Games left against the top 5 teams in the AL: 27 (43 percent). That includes 12 games against the Yankees, who have the best record in the league. And six against the Angels. Of those 27 games, 15 are on the road.
To win the division: The Sox are 10.5 games behind the Yankees. With 63 games left, it seems fairly unlikely they're catching them. If the Yankees went .500 the rest of the way, they would win 91 games. For the Sox to win 91 games, they would have to go 42-21 the rest of the way. There is nothing about this team that suggests playing .666 baseball for that long a period is possible, at least not with the current rotation.
To get a wild card: It sounds good that the Sox are only 4.5 games out of a wild-card berth with 63 games left. The problem is that there are six teams to get past for that second spot.
The best chance of sneaking into the postseason is to have all the wild card contenders beat each other up enough so that it takes only 87 or 88 wins to get one of the spots. In theory, the Sox could figure out a way to go 38-25 (.603) and at least give themselves a shot.
Optimistic historical precedent: The Sox have won at least 89 games in nine of the last 10 years. They're bound to go on a long hot streak at some point.
Pessimistic historical precedent: The Sox are 77-85 (.475) in their last 162 games and 56-70 (.444) in their last 126 games. This group has become accustomed to losing. Since the 2011 All-Star break, the Sox are 84-87. That's a lot of bad baseball.
The verdict: We'll know a lot more soon. The Sox play nine of their next 13 games against the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers. But right now, given their level of apathy and inconsistency, this is looking like an 81-83 win team. If that.
If you think it's going to be better — or worse — make a case in the comments section.