At 43-42, the Sox are 8 1/2 games back of the division-leading Yankees but only 2 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot, currently held by the Orioles.
While disappointing, several circumstances also point toward this being a minor miracle. The Red Sox have a great record considering their pitching and production issues.
The lowest ERA among Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and Clay Buchholz is the 4.33 posted by Lester, and both Beckett and Buchholz have found themselves on the disabled list. Adrian Gonzalez is hitting a mere .284./.330/.417 with six home runs and 45 RBIs after posting a line of .354/.414/.591 with 17 homers and 77 RBIs at the All-Star break last year. The outfield has been a jumble of journeymen and minor leaguers.
All the same, it doesn’t change the fact the Red Sox still find themselves scuffling along in the hardest division in baseball. Carl Crawford suffered a setback in his rehab and had to restart his timetable to return to the majors. Dustin Pedroia will be out a few weeks with a thumb injury. The Tigers figure to start playing better and make a run at the second wild card spot as well.
But the Red Sox will also reload. The injuries will eventually heal, and 2011 MVP runner-up Jacoby Ellsbury will return to wreak havoc once again. There are still 77 games left to play, and anything could happen.