Red Sox

AL Wild Card chase: Rays lose, Yankees win as Red Sox maintain 1.5-game advantage

The Red Sox have a pivotal series against the Yankees looming.

Red Sox Wildcard Chase
Robbie Ray of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on after the fourth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays. Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Red Sox maintained their advantage in the American League wild card chase on Monday, even while enjoying an off day.

The Blue Jays threatened a rally against the Rays on Monday, loading the bases in the ninth inning before falling 6-4. That dropped them 1.5 games behind the Red Sox. Both teams have won seven of their last 10 games. The Blue Jays have two more games against the Rays — whose magic number to clinch a playoff spot is three — before they take on the Twins.

The Yankees, meanwhile, held off the Rangers for a 4-3 victory to hold steady two games behind the Red Sox. The Yankees — 6-4 in their last 10 — have two more games against the Rangers before a vicious stretch to end the season, with a three-game series apiece against the Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays.

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On Tuesday, the Red Sox open a two-game series against the Mets before they take on the Yankees. That series could essentially clinch a playoff berth for the Red Sox with a sweep, or put them in a great position if they take two out of three. If the current status quo holds, a two-out-of-three series for the Red Sox would give them a three-game lead. Given that they take on the lowly Orioles and Nationals to finish their season while the Yankees play the Rays and Blue Jays, the Red Sox would be well positioned.

“We understand where we’re at. We’re in a great position,” manager Alex Cora said earlier this month. “There’s a lot of teams out there that wish to be in the position we’re in, regardless of our COVID world.”

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