Boston Red Sox: Series against Rays will make or break the season

Alex Cora #13 removes Tanner Houck #89 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Alex Cora #13 removes Tanner Houck #89 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /

The MLB season is reaching it’s homestretch, as there is just over a month left in the regular season. After enduring a prolonged slump to start the month, the Boston Red Sox have bounced back and won nine of their last 15 games, helping keep them afloat in a crowded American League wild card race.

Things still haven’t always been pretty for the Sox, as they continue to pick some tough losses, such as yesterday’s loss against the Cleveland Indians which saw them basically lose the game off a baserunner interference call. Either way, Boston appears to finally have regained some momentum, and have built a nice two and a half game cushion ahead of the Oakland Athletics for the second American League wild card spot.

Despite that, the Red Sox are set to embark on easily their most important series of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays later tonight. They could make things very interesting in the month of September if they play well in this one, or they could just as easily fall out of contention if they struggle. There have been many important tests on Boston’s season so far, but none more so than this one.

Why this series is so important for the Boston Red Sox

Despite the Red Sox recent stretch of winning, they still find themselves eight games behind the AL East leading Rays. That may seem like an insurmountable deficit at this stage in the season, but when you consider these two teams will square off seven more times this season, Boston could still technically make a surge back up the standings for the top spot in the East. That requires them to at least win this series however.

Boston currently holds the second wild card spot in the American league right now, sitting two games behind the New York Yankees for the top spot and two and a half games ahead of the Athletics. The Athletics have been in a bit of a funk lately, but they slowed down the red hot Yankees recently, and could be set to find their footing as a result.

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All this adds up to an absolutely vital series for the Sox. Winning the series closes the gap in AL East, and will make for a very interesting September. Losing the series means Boston will have to fight to just hold onto the final wild card spot, and there’s a chance they could find themselves out of the spot if things go poorly.

If there was ever a time for this team put all the pieces together and figure things out, now would be that time. The lineup and starting rotation have been showing signs of life recently, but the bullpen has just been awful. They can’t find anybody who can get outs in the late innings now, and that’s certainly not a good sign for a team looking to lock up a playoff spot.

The good news for Boston is that reinforcements appear to be on the way. While he won’t be activated for tonight’s game it seems, Ryan Brasier has flown down to Tampa Bay with the team, and seems likely to be activated at some point this series. The team will counting on Brasier to come right in and reprise his role as a late innings guy who can get outs when the team needs it the most.

dark. Next. If J.D. Martinez gets hot, watch out

The Rays are at the top of the AL East for a reason, and if Boston doesn’t bring their A-game here, they will find themselves in jeopardy of missing the playoffs as a whole. They can still make a charge for the top spot in the AL East, but that requires them to figure things out now, and win this series in Tampa. Rarely does a series have the ability to make or break a team’s season, but that’s just what this series is for the Boston Red Sox.