Tuesday September 27, 2011 | 05:42 AM

"It was fun to listen to the joy in the clubhouse after tonight's game. I enjoy just sitting in my office taking it in. We're really into it."

Obviously that comment did not from from the Red Sox Monday night, but from Tampa Bay manager Joe Madden (on Twitter).

St. Petersburg Times sports writer Marc Topkin passed on this from Rays third baseman Evan Longoria:

"We're in the driver's seat in our opinion. It's our job to go out there and win."

Longoria is absolutely correct. His team, while not exactly red-hot, are playing the resting Yankees. While the free-falling Red Sox play the loving-the-spoiler-role Orioles.

How far have the Red Sox fallen? Sea Dogs scorekeeper Thom Hinton passed on this tidbit: No team has ever lost a 10-game lead for the Wild Card spot.

Boston had a 10-game lead on Aug. 17 (and a nine-game lead on Sept. 1).

The 1999 Red Sox let a 7-game Wild Card lead, but then still came back to make the playoffs.

The 2006 White Sox also lost a 7-game lead (held on July 26), and did not recover.

But 10 games?! There can be lots of finger-pointing in Boston.Two players whom the Red Sox normally count on a lot, have faltered recently.

Take Jon Lester's' last three starts and Josh Beckett's last two, and what do you have? 0-5 record. 28 earned runs in 27 innings.

Here is where the teams stand:

Wild Card
Boston 89-71
Tampa Bay 89-71

Boston's and Tampa Bay's magic number to clinch the wild card: 3.

Remaining Games:
Boston (Erik Bedard) at Baltimore (Zach Britton)
New York (Bartolo Colon) at Tampa Bay (Jeremy Hellickson)
Boston (Jon Lester) at Baltimore (Alfredo Simon)
New York (TBD) at Tampa Bay (David Price)

The playoff seeds at the moment:
1. New York 97-63
2. Texas 94-66
3. Detroit 93-67
4. Boston or Tampa Bay (wild card)


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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