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Red Sox strong start to be followed by mediocre finish

Red Sox Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava share a smile, but rougher times are yet to come.
Red Sox Shane Victorino and Daniel Nava share a smile, but rougher times are yet to come.
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

I'm sorry, but I just can't help it: the Boston Red Sox may be 14 games over .500 and in possession of the most wins (47) and highest winning percentage (.588) in the American League, but I still don't see them playing deep into October.

Just shy of a month ago, I wrote that while the Sox were off to a terrific start, their mettle still hadn't been tested, as they still had 45 games to play against the Yankees, Orioles, and Rays. Since then, they have played 13 games against this trio and seven more against the powerhouses from Texas and Detroit – and they split them dead even at 10-10.

In that same span, the Red Sox also went 4-1 against the uninspiring Angels and Rockies. This, coupled with their performance against relatively weaker sisters over the first two months of the season, leads me to conclude that the Sox will beat the teams it's supposed to but struggle against those it must defeat in order to first earn a spot in, and then advance through, the postseason.

Having said that, though, I must confess that I do see them finishing with a better record than I originally forecast. At the start of the season, I thought 81-81 was a worthy goal considering where they came from. But thanks to their strong start, if they even play .500 from this point forward, they will finish with 88 wins – and with two wild-card slots up for grabs, that ought to be enough to make the playoffs after all. But without better and more consistent pitching, I think that's the best we realistically can expect.