Red Sox’ Playoff Hopes Depend on Return of Injured Stars

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Red Sox' Playoff Hopes Depend on Return of Injured Stars With the dog days of summer setting in, there are some unanswered questions regarding the Red Sox and American League East.

The Evil Empire made some serious moves on trade deadline day, leaving more than a few Boston fans scratching their heads and wondering how the Red Sox can compete with a stacked pinstripe batting order.

This particular area of scrutiny shouldn?t be the biggest worry of Red Sox Nation because the best answer for solid hitting is better pitching, something the Red Sox have.

Josh Beckett hasn?t really missed a beat since coming off the shelf.

Clay Buchholz has been the Clay Buchholz that the organization has been waiting to see emerge since he was drafted out of junior college.

Jon Lester is one of the best lefties in the game.

And Daisuke Matsuzaka and John Lackey have been no walk in the park, either. 

That being said, it?s time for the Red Sox to play the waiting game until everyone gets healthy, and time is of the essence. Hopefully, the local nine won?t be left standing without a chair when the music stops. 

That brings me to the fact that there will be a number of reinforcements coming to Boston?s aid — including the heart and soul of the squad, Dustin Pedroia. Jacoby Ellsbury, although slow to make his way back to the big club, will add a huge lift on offense and defense. And Mike Lowell will help as a fill-in for Kevin Youkilis

So here?s what the Red Sox have to do to make a playoff push: win the games they?re supposed to win (against lesser opponents) and win a few of the games maybe they aren?t supposed to win to shake up the division. The Rays and Yankees are playing solid baseball, but if the Red Sox can pull to within three or four games of first place or wild-card standings by mid-to-late August, things could get very interesting on Yawkey Way.

The Red Sox have the horses to make it a race in the East. But their success will hinge on the return of the reinforcements in a timely matter. Saying ?things could get interesting? means there is a good chance that Boston can make a run at the division if things go according to plan.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed, and this is completely speculative right now, but once the third week of August rolls around, take a look at the standings and ask yourself: Can this team make a run? If they?re within four games of the playoff leaders at that point, the answer is simple.

Yes, this team can certainly make a run.

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