Red Sox will be armed and dangerous in playoffs
When they dropped back-to-back games to the lowly Kansas City Royals earlier this week, they essentially kissed their shot at the AL East title goodbye and it's possible that, sometime this weekend, they may have to suffer the indignity of watching the New York Yankees celebrate the clinching of a division championship right in front of them.
But in the big picture, that's a minor disappointment. Sometime in the next week, the Boston Red Sox will clinch a playoff spot of their own, their sixth in the last seven years.
That means the Sox must be prepared to open the ALDS on the road, and should they advance, the ALCS, too. That's not the most enviable scenario, but it's hardly impossible.
In fact, there are many who believe that, seeding aside, the Red Sox might be the team to beat in the American League.
"I wouldn't want to play them — I'll tell you that,'' said an executive with another major-league club. "Five-game series, seven-game series ... they're dangerous.''
"Some teams are built for the long haul,'' said the GM of another team. "The Red Sox, with that pitching staff, are built for October.''
Even before they cross the finish line, the Sox are getting hot at the right time. Since Aug. 10, they own the best record (28-13) in the American League and the second-best in the baseball, behind only the Cardinals. They have the best home record in either league and still have a chance to finish with a winning record on the road — something only the Yankees and Angels can currently boast in the AL.
The defense, a weak spot for much of the year, has been vastly improved by the re-acquisition of Alex Gonzalez. Though some defensive metrics show them to be well below average, they're now a respectable fifth in fielding percentage and only Texas has allowed fewer unearned runs.