Red Sox can’t afford to give games away

The American League East at the start of play today:

Yankees: 17-12
Rays: 17-14
Orioles: 14-16
Red Sox: 14-17
Blue Jays: 14-17

For all of the ups and downs and maddening moments of the Red Sox season — and yesterday was damning evidence that sometimes this team just decides to take a day off when there’s no day off — they are four games out with 131 games to play.

That’s the good news. The bad news is the Yankees are 17-12 despite all manner of issues include the decline of Derek Jeter, the loss of No. 2 starter Phil Hughes and poor starts by Jorge Posada, Brett Gardner and Nick Swisher. They’re going to get better.


The Rays have Evan Longoria back and they’re going to get better. The Orioles and Blue Jays, still adjusting to life under new managers, could get better, too.

The Sox are 12-7 in their last 19 games and that’s great. If they continue to play at that pace, they’ll win 96-97 games and that should be enough to make the playoffs. Playing .632 baseball for five months is ridiculously hard. But when you start 2-10 amid great expectations, that’s the position you’re in.

Somebody should remind the Sox of that. They’ve lost the right show up on Thursday for a day game after a long night game and think, “we’ll get the Twins on Friday.”

Because that’s how it looked yesterday.

It’s still early in the season. But it’s too late for the Sox to think everything is back to normal and they can afford a few turkeys here and there. They can’t.

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