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AL East: Boston Red Sox’s magic number drops to one

The Boston Red Sox can clinch the AL East with a win tonight, but will they?

Even after a crushing defeat, the Boston Red Sox have plenty of reasons to smile. The team can officially clinch the AL East with a win over the Houston Astros later tonight or a New York Yankees loss this afternoon and finally breathe a sigh of relief

But that doesn’t mean the Red Sox are without agita. Odds certainly favor New York against the Toronto Blue Jays today and even if the Bronx Bombers do lose, Boston still has a lot to get together ahead of the postseason.

Where Boston stands now

If there was any time when Boston needed a lift, today is certainly the day. The Red Sox were crushed by the Astros last night by a score of 12-2 and looked like a shell of the team that cruised to a lead in the division in the second half of the season.

Boston was playing from behind from the get-go as starter Eduardo Rodriguez loaded the bases in the first inning before giving up a two-out, bases clearing double to Marwin Gonzalez and it was all downhill from there. Rodriguez would last only 1.2 innings and allowed five earned runs, the last two of which came via a home run to Alex Bregman. Brian McCann and Carlos Correa would also have home runs in the game as Houston cruised to victory.

Thankfully for Boston, Yankees starter Sonny Gray fell apart in the fifth inning as the Rays scored seven runs to take an 8-4 lead en route to an eventual 9-6 victory. Boston maintained its three-game lead in the AL East and now just needs a single win to bring home the divisional gold.

The road ahead

The good news for Boston is that though they send Doug Fister (5-8, 4.87 ERA) to the mound tonight, Houston’s pitcher isn’t exactly ace material. The Astros will match Fister with veteran Charlie Morton and though he had a solid year in going 13-7 with a 3.63 ERA, Boston should be able to get to him a lot more easily than they did Brad Peacock last night.

It’s also worth noting that though Fister has been up and down for the Red Sox this season, he has still looked great occasionally. This is the same guy who posted a 3.71 ERA in August and tossed a complete game one-hitter against the Cleveland Indians that same month, as in he gave up a leadoff home run to Francisco Lindor and never looked back after that.

Fister probably won’t be in that form against Houston tonight but with Boston potentially playing to clinch the division, expect he and his teammates to be fully locked in. Boston has come too far and played too well to just collapse in the blink of an eye, and the team’s play should reflect accordingly.

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Josh Benjamin

Josh Benjamin is a born and bred New Yorker and an absolute baseball fanatic. He has witnessed four no-hitters at Yankee Stadium, three of which were memorable. Josh can be seen by the basketball court when baseball is not in session, though his love for the diamond will always be his first. He is incredibly excited to be part of the RealSport team!

AL East: Boston Red Sox’s magic number drops to one

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