The season-defining stretch begins tomorrow. In 21 days, we will know much about the 2003 Boston Red Sox. In the 19 games between now and then, the Sox face the A’s 7 times, Seattle 7 times, and the Yankees 3 times. With 2 thrown in against the Blue Jays. They start this gauntlet 3 games behind the Yankees for the East, and one game ahead of the A’s for the Wild Card. During this same period, the Yankees face Kansas City (6), Baltimore (8), the White Sox (3), and of course, Boston 3 times.
If Baltimore continues to play as well as they have of late (at least against Boston, but let’s give them a little credit..they are 16-9 since the break), this stretch could turn out to be almost as tough for the Yankees.
The A’s and M’s have it pretty good during the rest of August; besides Boston they both face Toronto (7), Baltimore(3), and Tampa Bay(3).
So what is it going to take to come out of this alive? Here is one man’s prediction:
If as of Sunday, August 31st, the Sox are 2.5 games or less behind the Yanks for the East, I will be pretty happy with the way things could turn out in 2003. For this to happen, the Sox need to go 4-3 vs. Seattle and Oakland, 2-1 vs. the Yanks, and split with Toronto. And it would help immensly if Baltimore stayed hot and took games away from all 3 of the Sox main competitors. The way I see it, Baltimore has a chance to help the Sox out in FIFTEEN GAMES in the next 21 days. So if you are a Sox fan, forget the A’s, M’s, and Y’s for the next 3 weeks (except when the Sox are playing them). You need to root your ass off for the Orioles to go at least 9-6 vs. those three teams over that period.
Yes, some of you might say “it is silly to root for other teams to help you; you need to get it done yourself!” And to those I say…true. However, if the O’s do well down this stretch, it takes the sting out of 2-5 over the past two weekends and shows everybody else that maybe the O’s aren’t as bad as people assume they are…
So…let’s go Sox! 11-8 during this 19 game stretch shouldn’t be too much to ask if you consider yourselves a playoff calibre team.
And Let’s Go O’s!