With a lot of baseball left to play, the Sox have some time to catch the second wild card spot, but they're going to need to kick it into high gear starting now.
Check out this week's mailbag below.
Do you think the Sox will win the second wild card?
— A.J. Libby
It is going to take a great run. Are they capable? Yes. Have we seen any signs that it could happen? Not so far. They need a long run of wins and it starts by winning every series you play the remainder of the season and then see where you are. This weekend against the Twins did not help the cause. Obviously their home record has to be better, as well. It can be done but a sense of urgency has to come into play ASAP.
Does Pedro Ciriaco fit in the Red Sox' future?
— Pops Wright
I hope he does. He has been a great story this season. He very versatile and can do many different things for you to win games. His first MLB home run should have been one of the great moments of the season if it hadn't been for the Red Sox losing the game the next inning. I think Bobby Valentine would like to have had him on the roster all season. He certainly liked what he saw during spring training and we did, as well. He is an exciting player and seems to be getting better and more confident with each passing big league game he plays.
What do the Sox need to do in order to maintain leads in games?
— Dave Beck
Pitch better. I think the starters have to go deeper into games and then the bullpen gets less use and is less taxed over time. They need at least 6-plus innings from the starters. Anytime your bullpen is coming in in the fifth or earlier on a regular basis they will get tired and exposed. Matchups become easier when they occur in the seventh and eighth then when you have to start thinking left/right matchups in the fifth. There have been a few times recently where good starts have been wasted by no run support but overall to me it is still the starting pitching that has to be better.
I think the Sox organization should push to get Jason Varitek as the manager. Do you think that is a possibility?
— Darren Povelite
Not at the moment. After talking with him, he is enjoying his time away. I do believe he will return in some capacity of coaching, instructing or scouting and I am not ruling out a return as a manager down the road. I cannot really imagine him going back to the minors to manage and hone his skills while riding the buses. I do not think he would be given the manager’s job here without some experience of managing a club somewhere. Can his vast knowledge and experience as a leader help? Absolutely, but I'm just not sure at this point of his interest level. Most guys generally take a few years off after their careers are complete on the field.
Had Ryan Sweeney not injured himself, do you think he would have been dealt?
— Dave; Johnston, R.I.
I think it is possible and that there were a lot of guys available. I just did not see the Red Sox doing very much at the deadline. What was available was not really going to help the club immediately so there were really no bold moves to make except to give up on the season and plan for the future — something the Sox were not prepared to do that with the second wild card in the mix. No one feels worse about the injury than Ryan Sweeney.