Boston Red Sox: Time to make a final push for a Wild Card spot is now

Bobby Dalbec #29 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Bobby Dalbec #29 of the Boston Red Sox (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

The end of the MLB regular season is right around the corner. The Boston Red Sox have just 15 games left on their regular season schedule, and find themselves in the middle of a heated battle for a Wild Card spot.

With the Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees in front of them, and the Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners lurking behind them, every game feels like a must-win contest for the Sox at this point.

And rightfully so. It may still just be September, but it feels like the playoffs have already started for Boston. They have been battling for most of the second half to hang onto a playoff spot, and that race has only gotten more intense with the Yankees forgetting how to win and the Blue Jays catching fire.

The fact that the Red Sox are still even in contention for a playoff spot is a victory in it’s own right. Long gone is their first half stranglehold of the AL East. The second half of the season has seen the team battle a lack of additions at the trade deadline, star performers cooling off, and to top it all off, a teamwide COVID outbreak that has taken another victim with each passing day it seems.

And yet the Sox have managed to hang around through it all. They sit just mere percentage points behind the Blue Jays and Yankees in the Wild Card race, and should be looking to take advantage of a very easy remaining schedule. If there was ever a time for them to make final push for a playoff spot, that time is now.

Why the Boston Red Sox still have a good shot at picking up a playoff spot

Things have been seemingly trending towards Boston missing out on the playoffs for most of the second half of the season. They quickly threw away their lead a top the AL East, and then fell all the way out of contention for a Wild Card spot at a couple points too, including right now. Yet the team never gave up, and that’s why they find themselves in a prime position to make a final push for a Wild Card spot that could see them end up in the playoffs.

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Of the final 15 games this season, nine come against the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, two teams that can’t wait for this season to be over. It will be imperative for Boston to beat up on these cellar-dweller teams and make up some ground in the Wild Card race.

The Boston Red Sox also only have to play 15 games compared to the 17 games the Blue Jays and Yankees will have to play over the next few weeks. This will be much welcome for a Sox team that hasn’t been at full strength for most of the second half of the season. This will allow them time to recover and bring back some crucial pieces of the team.

Both the Blue Jays and Yankees face more difficult final stretches than Boston too. The Yankees have a potentially deadly final nine game stretch that includes three game series’ against the Sox, Blue Jays, and Tampa Bay Rays. The Blue Jays are finishing a series against the Rays right now, and have another one with them before the season ends, as well as the aforementioned Yankees series.

Combine this with the fact that the Red Sox are starting to get back to full strength after dealing with a massive COVID outbreak, and things are looking up for them. They have already gotten Xander Bogaerts, Kike Hernandez, and Nick Pivetta back. Joining them shortly will be Chris Sale, Matt Barnes, and Christian Arroyo.

When you combine the Sox getting healthy with their easy final stretch, and they look to be in good position to pick up a Wild Card spot when all is said and done. That doesn’t diminish the fact that each game the rest of the way out should be considered must-win however. The Blue Jays have been on fire lately, and while the Yankees have been struggling lately, they can just as quickly heat up too.

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That’s why it’s vital the Boston Red Sox to focus up and make their final playoff push right now before it’s too late. We saw the urgency in last night’s win over the Mariners, and that needs to continue for the rest of the season. Despite all the struggles this team has faced throughout the second half of the season, they are still in a great position to make the playoffs. Whether or not they make the postseason is up to them at this point.