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September is finally upon us and the division race has never been closer. The Red Sox were finally able to gain some ground on those pesky Tampa Bay Rays and continue to further themselves from the New York Yankees. The Chicago White Sox and the Baltimore Orioles were both targets of the Red Sox advance in the standings this past week.
The Sox were able to take two out of three from their white wearing counterpart from Chicago to end August. Soon after, the Red Sox pushed the Orioles aside in a three-game sweep this week that included a great come-from-behind victory on Wednesday thanks to Dustin Pedroia and Mark Kotsay. After winning those two series and the Rays having a difficult time with the Yankees, the Red Sox (as of Saturday) find themselves 2.5 games back of Tampa Bay.
The Yankees are just about out of contention being 11 games out of first at this point. They are so far out of it, that the San Francisco Giants at 60-80 have just as good a chance (11 games out in the NL West) as the Yankees to win their division. Yes, the same Giants who are led by SP Barry Zito. HA!
In the Wild Card race, the Red Sox still maintain a slightly comfortable edge over the Minnesota Twins. The Twins lost a lot of ground on the Sox due to being swept by the Toronto Blue Jays earlier in the week.
Minnesota is now 5.5 games behind the Sox but only a game and a half behind the White Sox in the Central. The White Sox may be in trouble though after 100-RBI man Carlos Quentin may be out for the season with a wrist injury.
As the Red Sox take on the Texas Rangers this weekend they look to continue to gain ground on the Rays and take the division back. The Rays on the other hand have a 10-day road trip ahead of them starting with Toronto this weekend and moving to Boston on Monday.
Realistically, I still see the American League Playoffs featuring: The Angels, The Rays, The Red Sox, and The White Sox. I do not believe the Twins will catch up in any way with really only one great pitcher in Fransico Liriano. The Wild Card will be coming out of the AL East this year with both the Sox and Rays getting in.