Boston Red Sox

Red Sox playoff odds surging amid strong close to first half of season

Boston's playoff odds have risen significantly in recent weeks.

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The Boston Red Sox are playing some of their best baseball of the season as the MLB All-Star break approaches.

The Red Sox have five more games remaining before the break begins, which is usually considered the halfway point of the season even though every team will have played around 90-95 of its 162 games.

Boston enters Thursday's matchup versus the Oakland Athletics at Fenway Park with a 50-40 record, good enough for third place in the American League East.

The Red Sox also occupy the third and final wild card spot in the AL. They are 1.5 games up on the Kansas City Royals -- who come to Fenway Park on Friday for a three-game series -- and one game behind the Minnesota Twins in the second wild card spot.

FanGraphs gives the Red Sox a 49.4 percent chance of reaching the 2024 MLB postseason. A 50-50 shot is pretty good for a franchise that was three games under .500 five weeks ago and had just a 13.3 chance to make the playoffs at that time.

Here's a look at how much Boston's playoff odds have steadily improved over the last five weeks. Boston's chances have almost quadrupled during that span.

Now that the Red Sox have a realistic chance to return to the postseason for the first time since 2021, it will be fascinating to see whether the front office decides to buy, stand pat or sell at the trade deadline.

The deadline is scheduled for July 30, which gives teams less than three weeks to make roster moves.

Unless the Red Sox fall off a cliff -- which seems unlikely even though they have a tough schedule coming out of the All-Star break -- it would be a pretty tough sell to both the players and fans to do nothing of consequence.

The AL has some pretty good teams, including the first-place Baltimore Orioles and red-hot Houston Astros, but there's no super-dominant or unbeatable opponent standing in Boston's way.

Anything can happen if you get into the tournament. Seven teams this century, including the 2004 Red Sox, have won the World Series as wild card teams. The 2023 World Series featured two wild card teams -- the Arizona Diamondbacks and champion Texas Rangers.

The Red Sox could do some damage, but that requires getting into the playoffs. And given the competitiveness of the AL wild card race right now, securing a spot might require the Red Sox to make a roster upgrade or two ahead of the trade deadline.

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