What seemed impossible just three weeks ago is now perilously close to reality: The Red Sox are on the precipice of blowing the biggest September lead in baseball history.
Back on Sept. 1, the Red Sox led the AL East by a half game and were a full 9 games up on the Rays. Fast forward 18 days, and the Sox lead has been cut to just two games with 10 left to play. Over that span, Boston is 4-13 and has a 5.98 ERA, the second-worst ERA in the majors for the month.
Tampa Bay beat Boston for the sixth time in seven games Sunday and is flying high heading into a four-game series against the Yankees in New York that begins Tuesday. If there's one thing the Red Sox have going for them, it's that the Rays play the Yankees in seven of their final 10 games.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, host the lowly Orioles for four (including a doubleheader today with two pitchers on the mound -- Kyle Weiland and John Lackey -- whose ERAs add up to 13.77) before finishing the season on the road against the Yankees and Orioles again.
With all that said, where is your Red Sox panic meter? Do you look at the glass half full (Rays play the majority of their games against a first-place team, while the Sox face a last-place team seven more times) or half empty (the Sox can't beat anyone pitching the way they are right now)?
Vote in the accompanying survey and share your thoughts in the comments section.
One way or another, we should know more about the fate of this Red Sox team after today's doubleheader. If the Sox lose both ends, they'll be just a game up on the Rays. If they sweep, they'll be a much-more-comfy three games up.