Tuesday September 21, 2010 | 10:54 AM

When the RACE to the playoffs became a CHASE for the Boston Red Sox, we began using terms like improbable and unlikely. We've moved on to far-fetched.

Another Red Sox loss and we will be in the snowball's-chance-in-hell category.

Last week's faint hope depended on a Yankees collapse, with Boston still having six games to play against New York.

After Boston lost to Baltimore Monday night, and the Yankees beat the Rays, here are the AL East standings:

Yankees 91-59; Rays 89-60 (1.5 back); Red Sox 83-67 (8 back).

Maybe Boston fans should be hoping for a Rays collapse. Tampa Bay's starting rotation is struggling (see the St. Petersburg Times story).

If Tampa Bays stumbles to a 3-10 finish, while Boston goes 9-3, then they are tied for the Wild Card spot.

It's that simple ... and, yes, far-fetched. Boston is showing no signs of going on such a run, while Tampa Bay's schedule is in its favor. After three more games with the Yankees, the Rays return home for six game (Mariners, then Baltimore) before finishing with four games at Kansas City.

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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