Red Sox

Here’s where the Red Sox stand in the MLB playoff picture with a month left

Every game is magnified now.

Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec celebrate a win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Chris O'Meara/AP Photo

With exactly one month left in the regular season, the Red Sox are firmly in the playoff picture but are far from guaranteed a spot in the postseason.

A COVID-19 outbreak has led to 11 members of the team, including eight players, missing time due to positive tests or as close contacts. Even so, Boston managed to salvage a split with the Tampa Bay Rays despite a shorthanded roster.

Every game is magnified now as the Sox try to preserve their position as the second wild card team or potentially leapfrog the Yankees. Catching the Rays, who are 6 1/2 games up on the Yankees and eight up on the 77-59 Red Sox, is highly unlikely, but ESPN currently gives the Red Sox an 81 percent chance of making the playoffs.

Advertisement:

The Oakland A’s are two games behind them, and the Seattle Mariners (four games), Toronto Blue Jays (five), and Cleveland Indians (7.5) are all in the mix.

Despite their 14-19 record since July 29, the Red Sox are still in an ideal spot overall. They’ve won seven of their last 11 and appear to be regaining their form even as they cope with the ripple effects of the COVID outbreak.

“They understand that teams go through stuff like that,” manager Alex Cora told reporters. “It’s not the first team that has a COVID issue, but there have been teams that went through this and then they took off, right? Hopefully this is our ‘taking off’ and we can play solid baseball all the way through September and get to October to play in October.”

The Red Sox are scheduled to host the Indians and the Rays at Fenway Park over the next six days. They have a day off, then get the Chicago White Sox and Seattle Mariners on the road, the Baltimore Orioles, New York Mets, and Yankees at home, and the Orioles and Washington Nationals on the road to close the regular season Oct. 3.

The next nine games, against three American League contenders, could ultimately be pivotal. While going 6-3 or 7-2 would boost their chances considerably, even taking five games would be key.

Advertisement:

The series against the Yankees, from Sept. 24-26, could be one of the more significant in recent memory – particularly if the A’s gain ground.

FiveThirtyEight predicts the Red Sox will go 14-12 from here and finish 91-71. The site gives them a 70 percent chance of making the playoffs and 2 percent chance of winning the World Series. Baseball-Reference.com is right around those same marks, at 71.2 percent to make the playoffs and 2.9 percent to win it all.

FanGraphs is more in line with ESPN, putting their odds at 81.4 percent to make the playoffs. They predict 92 wins and bump their chances of winning the World Series to 6 percent.

The Red Sox made the playoffs six of seven years from 2003-2009, missed out three years in a row, won the World Series in 2013, were left out two years straight, made it three in a row and have missed it the last two seasons.

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com