With 20 games left to go in the 2008 Boston Red Sox regular season, things are really starting to heat up!!
With the Tampa Rays loss coupled with the Red Sox win versus Texas, the Sox are now just 1.5 games behind Tampa for the division crown. Also, with the Twins losing again, Boston upped their lead in the wild card race to 6.5 games!
Although everything is looking up right now for the Sox, they can not afford to let up. These last 20 games will be the most difficult for them. In this month, the Red Sox will play Tampa 6 times, Toronto 7 times, Cleveland 4 times, and then finish up with the Yankees for a 3 game series at Fenway to end the regular season.
Tampa, Toronto, and Cleveland are all playing very well right now and could beat anybody. And even though the Yankees aren't really in the playoff race, they would like nothing better than to come in to Fenway the last weekend of the season and ruin the Red Sox playoff hopes. These last 20 games are going to be the most important games of the entire year and it all begins tonight.
The Tampa Rays roll into Beantown on a 3 game losing streak, so they will be looking to wake up their bats and widen the gap between them and the Red Sox. This will be a real test for Tampa. They are a very young team that has never been in a pennant race before. On the other hand, the Red Sox are the defending World Series Champions and have pennant race and playoff experience coming out of their wazoos.
Also, with tonight's game at Fenway, the Red Sox will set a new MLB attendance record for consecutive sell outs with their 456th (my wife and I went to 2 Red Sox games on our honeymoon, so I'd like to think that we are a part of this new record. Congratulations, honey!). This will break the old record set by the Cleveland Indians in 2001.
The Red Sox are in a groove right now and it will be interesting to see how the young Rays react to playing September baseball in Boston during a playoff race.