Thursday September 09, 2010 | 06:03 AM

On a blog dated Aug. 16, I noted that the next 21 games were crucial for the Red Sox, especially with 15 of them being in Fenway Park. At the time, Boston was six games behind the Yankees, five behind the Rays.

It was time to make up ground.

New York stayed hot and went 15-8. Tampa Bay was 13-9. And the Red Sox shuffled along at 11-10, going 8-7 at Fenway, and 3-3 on the road. Two crushing series: 1-2 at Tampa Bay when Boston could have swept but made too many mistakes; and 0-3 vs. the White Sox in Boston.

AL East: NYY 87-53; TB 84-55 (2.5 back); Bos 78-62 (9 back).

When looking at Boston's troubles, it is easy to point out the injuries, or Josh Beckett's difficult season. But the blame for this year can be put on the bullpen. See today's column.

Fun night at Fenway on Wednesday. Tim Wakefield got a rare win (his fourth), despite giving up four earned runs in five innings ... and former Sea Dogs Josh Reddick (3-for-5), Lars Anderson (2-for-4, including his first major league hit and his first major league RBI) and Ryan Kalish (RBI double) all enjoyed themselves.

In the minors, Boston's only affiliate in the post-season, Greenville, beat Savannah 8-3 in the opening game of the South Atlantic League playoffs.

The Eastern League playoffs began Wednesday: Trenton 2, New Hampshire 0; Harrisburg 10, Altoona 5

About this Blog

Kevin Thomas covers baseball and basketball for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. He wisely moved to Maine in 1994 after working for the St. Petersburg Times. He is married to Nancy and they have nine children.

Follow his thoughts on the Boston Red Sox and Portland Sea Dogs on Clearing the Bases

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