McAdam: Don't count out Red Sox just yet


TORONTO -- In a little more than a week, the Red Sox have shaved 3 1/2 games off their deficit in the A.L. East. Eight days ago, when the Sox dropped the opener of their series with Baltimore, they found themselves 9 1/2 games out of first place. This morning, that's down to six.

And while the Red Sox have undeniably played better of late, winning three straight and four of their last five, it's not like they've had this long sustained period of improvement. They're still seven games under .500, at 36-43.

But the four other teams in the division each lost Tuesday night. While that might seem unusual, it has, in fact, happened quite a bit lately. It happened Monday, too, with the Red Sox beating the Jays, and the Rays, Yankees and Orioles losing their respective games.

The other clubs have held the door open for the Red Sox, inviting them back into the East logjam. All four teams ahead of the Sox have considerable flaws. The Yankees' rotation is a mess and the lineup has sputtered. The Blue Jays also have issues with their starting pitching. The Rays have an anemic offense. Only Baltimore would seem to have its act together, but, it, too, has starting pitching problems, ranking 25th in MLB in quality starts.

The Sox, of course, haven't proven themselves a worthy challenger just yet. But the last week, and the progress made in the standings, should remind them that they're far from out of things -- as long as they can sustain this stretch of improved play.


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