The Red Sox have survived a rough start in April and injuries to Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and Andrew Bailey. They have found a way to hang on despite slow starts from Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz and the bullpen. Hell, even Bobby Valentine is finally looking comfortable in his own dugout.
Now as the team enters the last stretch of May and the beginning of June, they are just 6.5 games behind the Orioles in the A.L. East and 2.5 games behind the Blue Jays for the last playoff spot. There are still 121 games to be played and the postseason is months away but playing in a division as tough as the A.L. East, it's good to never fall to far behind the competition.
The next 16 games are very important to the Red Sox. They are playing much better of late in all aspects of the game and have now won eight of their last ten games. Over the next 16 games they face the Orioles (3 games in Baltimore, 3 in Fenway), the Rays (3 at Fenway), the Tigers (4 at Fenway), and the Blue Jays (3 in Canada). These games are opportunities to continue their recent success and makeup ground against three teams in their division that they are looking up at while also getting some revenge on the Tigers for their opening series sweep of the Sox in Detroit.
Come June 8, when the Nationals come to Boston to give Red Sox fans their first live looks at Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, the Red Sox could either be near the top of their division and back into the playoff picture in the American League or they could be preparing to build for the 2013 season.