A couple of weeks ago as the Sox pushed their lead back up to 9.5 games I took a shot at those who seemed ready to jump off the bandwagon. But 10 games later, with the lead down to 3.5 games, I might be the one to end up looking foolish. The Sox need to at least split the six remaining games with Cleveland to hold on the division. Winning only two might not be enough as Cleveland gets to play TB and KC seven times down the stretch.
Of course even if they end up losing the division they should have no problem holding on to the Wild Card. In fact, for the Sox to lose the WC, they would need Cleveland, Boston, and the Yankees to pass them in the standings.
Top three make playoffs:
CHW 90-58 -
CLE 87-62 3.5
BOS 87-62 3.5
NYY 85-63 5.0
It has been said that the Sox magic number for the WC is 10, but in reality it is only 9. If the Sox get to 99-63 there is no way both NY and Boston can pass the White Sox as NY/BOS have play each other three times. For example if the Yankees went 14-0, to match the White Sox at 99-63, the Red Sox would have to at least lose 3 games to the Yankees and their best potential record would be 97-65.
Best Possible Records for NY/BOS:
Red Sox Sweep: BOS 100-62, NYY 96-66
Red Sox take 2 of 3: BOS 99-63, NYY 97-65
Yanks Take 2 of 3: BOS 98-64, NYY 98-64
Yankis sweep: BOS 97-65, NYY 99-63
This is why the Sox still have a 97% chance of making the playoffs according to Baseball Prosepctus.