The third-place Red Sox have their work cut out for them if they want to keep playing baseball after Oct. 3 this fall.
The club is 5 1/2 games behind both the Rays and Yankees who are tied atop the division. Besides a six-game winning streak in mid-June, the Sox have yet to make a consistent run this season, but a hot streak heading into September could just get the team into playoff contention.
But who is going to lead the Sox down the stretch?
Josh Beckett, injured for the majority of the season and inconsistent when healthy, would give the rotation an immense boost if he could get back to his winning ways.
Dustin Pedroia, arguably the best all-around player and vocal leader of the team, returned on Tuesday and has brought an added spark that was missing in his absence.
David Ortiz, who has 26 homers and 77 RBIs through 106 games, is very crucial heading down the stretch as the loss of Kevin Youkilis has hurt the club's power supply.
Which player is the biggest key to the Red Sox' success down the stretch? Text 'SOX1' to 542542 for Josh Beckett. Text 'SOX2' to 542542 for Dustin Pedroia. Text 'SOX3' to 542542 for David Ortiz.