Thursday, December 12, 2013
At 95-62, the Boston Red Sox have a chance for 100 wins.
That has more value than just sounding nice. The Red Sox may need 100 to have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.
Boston has the best record in the AL, but Oakland (93-63) has only one more loss. The A's have been on a roll (20-7 since Aug. 23) and they finish with three games at the Angels and three at Seattle.
If Oakland wins out, Boston will have to do the same in its remaining five games. Going 4-1 won't be good enough. The A's currently have the edge in the tiebreakers.
If teams finished tied with the best record, Major League Baseball uses a tiebreaker. The first criteria is head-to-head competition. Boston and Oakland split six games this year.
Next criteria is intra-division record: Boston is 43-30 in the East, with three games left. Oakland is 41-29, with all six remaining games in the division. If Oakland wins out, it wins this tiebreaker.
So these games are important. That may be why John Farrell has changed shuffled his rotation a little. John Lackey will pitch Tuesday in Denver, followed by Jake Peavy on Wednesday. Boston will go with Clay Buchholz, Jon Lester and John Lackey this weekend in Baltimore.
For more on the Red Sox, see today's column.
Now for the numbers:
RACE FOR BEST AL RECORD
Oakland 93-63 (1.5 games behind)
Detroit 91-65 (3.5 games behind)
BOSTON’S MAGIC NUMBERS
To clinch the best record in the AL: 5
Boston (5): at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).
A’s (6): at Angels (3), at Mariners (3).
Tigers (6): at Twins (3), at Marlins (3)
Tampa Bay 86-69
Texas 84-71 (1.5 game back)
Kansas City 82-73 (3.5)
New York 82-74 (4)
Baltimore 81-74 (4.5)
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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