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.

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