This is a big one today. It's not head-to-head with the Angels or A's, and therefore you could argue that it's no bigger than any other game in the season's last seven weeks. But the AL West lead over LA is currently at 7.5 games, and the Angels throw Dan Haren tonight against the Blue Jays. The return to the rotation and (at least temporarily) to form by Scott Kazmir gives the Angels four high end starters, and for the first time in months, they have actually picked up some ground recently.â†µ
Five games represents the safe cushion line for me, but 7+ games has gotten pretty coomfortable lately, and the thought of running away with things is enticing for a team with health and fatigue concerns in its lineup. We have an even pitching matchup in CJ Wilson and Daisuke Matsuzaka, and losing that matchup could mean the Angels closing to 6.5 with them and the Rangers heading to Boston and Tampa respectively.â†µ
For their part, the Red Sox sit four games back of the Rays in the wild card race, certainly within range with six H2H remaining and two series each against the Yankees still on the schedule. Thanks to ESPN, the game will be impacted by heat more than any this season, as Bristol would prefer to subject fans and players to the hottest day of the year in the RBiA oven than risk losing Boston viewers on SNB or, heaven forbid, actually show Boston and Texas themselves. Wilson should be better adapted to the heat than Matsuzaka, for whatever that's worth.
With that first line of safety potentially being breached, this one feels pretty big.