Can Red Sox Still Make Playoffs?

Can Red Sox Still Make Playoffs? The Red Sox can thank the Yankees as they head out of Boston, not for the visitors' taking two of three games and reasserting their 2010 dominance, but instead for serving as a reminder.

The reminder is of last season. It may seem like decades ago, but it was just last year that the Red Sox were the dominant team in the AL East, winning the first eight matchups with their rivals from New York. In fact, at this same point last year, the Red Sox were a game behind the Blue Jays for first place in the AL East, with the Yankees trailing Toronto by 5 1/2 games.

Then, of course, the Yankees turned it on, posting the following records for each month after June:

July: 18-9
August: 21-7
September: 19-9

They also turned around the season series with the Sox, winning nine of their final 10 matchups. You may remember how the Yankees' season ended.

So, using the model of the 2009 Yankees, doesn't it seem a bit premature to write off the Red Sox' 2010 season? Sure, things haven't looked great, but Jon Lester's performance on Sunday night was nothing short of inspiring. If John Lackey can follow suit on Monday night and the Red Sox can keep it rolling against the Blue Jays, the Sox can leapfrog Toronto in the standings and start setting their sights on the two top dogs in the AL East.

That's not to discount what the Tampa Bay Rays are doing, however. After an inexplicably mediocre season in 2009, the Rays have regained their form from 2008, when they were champs of the American League. However, the mighty Rays (who entered Sunday with a 22-8 record) fell victim to a perfect game for the second time since last July. Optimistic Red Sox fans can at least hope that Dallas Braden's perfect game can get in the heads of the Rays, possibly kicking off at least a modest losing streak.

Obviously, nothing will be easy for the Red Sox this year, but with their two starting outfielders nearing a return, the team is close to once again becoming the unit that was assembled over the winter. The sayings go that good pitching beats good hitting and that defense never slumps. Either the Sox have proven the old adages wrong or they haven't lived up to their potential.

We'll find the answer over the next five months, but as of right now, do you still believe that the Red Sox can make the playoffs?

Share your thoughts below. The best comments will be read on NESN's Red Sox Gameday Live or Red Sox Final.

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