Thursday September 16, 2010 | 06:10 AM

Boston completed a three-game sweep against Seattle (without Felix Hernandez) and it serves as a reminder of missed opportunities earlier in the season.

After the All-Star break, the Red Sox came out stumbling, losing 3-of-4 to Texas, then 2-of-3 to Oakland. But then Boston flew into Seattle for four games, none of which would feature Hernandez. Instead of a momentum-building sweep, the Red Sox lost the last two games of the series for a split.

After Wednesday's games, the AL East features Tampa Bay 88-57; New York 88-58 (0.5 back); and Boston 82-64 (6.5 back).

Six games behind the Yankees, with 16 games to go (six of them against New York).

This is not a race, but a chase, and a desperate one at that.

A collapse by the Yankees, with that deep lineup and a stopper like C.C. Sabathia, is very doubtful.

A winning streak by the Red Sox, with their depleted lineup and their unpredictable pitching, is also very doubtful.

But at least there is still a chase to watch.

In Wednesday's win, Ryan Kalish went 2-for-5 with a double, triple and RBI. On his weekly interview on WEEI Wednesday afternoon, manager Terry Francona continued his praise of Kalish, calling him a "true center fielder" and saying "in the not-too-distant future he's going to impact our team. He's a keeper."

Sometimes, the Red Sox build up prospects and you wonder if it is to increase their trade value, but it looks like Kalish is staying.

In two best-of-3 minor league championship series,, Altoona and Trenton are tied 1-1 in the Eastern League, and Greenville and Lakewood are 1-1 in the South Atlantic League. The latter two teams got into a brawl on Tuesday night. Three Greenville players were suspended one game for the incident - Michael Almanzar, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Vladimir Frias.

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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