By the numbers: Red Sox and the playoffs

The Guru
Contributing Writer

With 53 games left in the 2013 season, the marathon has turned into a sprint. The Boston Red Sox are poised to make a real push towards the playoffs. The numbers seem to add up.

Boston is currently 65-44 with a ½ game lead on the Tampa Bay Rays and a 5 ½ game lead on the Baltimore Orioles in the American League East.

In order for a team to make it into the playoffs, let’s estimate they must win a minimum of 88 games. If the Red Sox go 23-30 the rest of the way, that gives them 88 wins. Seems very doable. If Boston plays 3 games under .500 that would give them 90 wins and likely a wild card.

However, the wild card is not the #1 goal. Winning the AL East is the easiest path to a World Series. Only 30% of wild card winners have won the World Series in the past 10 years. The Red Sox have clearly set their eyes on winning the division. The trade this week for Jake Peavy shows management has blown up the bridge year and are thinking big year.

Including the Red Sox, there are 7 teams vying for 5 spots in the playoffs. The Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Oakland A’s, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians are all in a fight for those spots. The Yankees? Fuggedaboutit. They are 8 games back.

The Red Sox will face opponents with a winning percentage of about .500 the rest of the way. The schedule favors the Sox for the next 3 weeks as Boston will face Arizona (55-53), the Astros (36-70), the Royals (53-51) and the Blue Jays (50-57).

Moving forward the Red Sox will also face 3 potential playoff contenders, the Tigers, Rays, and Dodgers. They also have 10 games left with New York and you better believe the Yanks will be looking to ruin the Sox surprising season.

As for the Red Sox competition for a playoff spot, the Rays opponents have a .505 winning percentage, the Orioles take on teams playing at a .516 clip, the A’s opponents are playing .486 ball, the Tigers face teams with a .478 percentage and the Rangers have the cupcake schedule as they face teams with a .473 winning percentage. Also, don’t forget Terry Francona’s Indians (60-48). Cleveland has won 7 straight, trail Detroit by just 2 games and if the season ended today they would be in.

The numbers are working in the Red Sox favor. Barring a collapse of 2011 proportions, Boston will make the playoffs. But, as we know Red Sox Lifer’s, anything can happen. Don’t get the Duck Boats ready. Yet. The Vegas odds of the Red Sox bringing home are championship are currently 8/1.

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