By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Tuesday night was an almost unfathomably bad night for the Red Sox. Wednesday was a lot better.
Playing against the worst team in baseball, in front of what appeared to be maybe 75 fans in Baltimore, the Red Sox got a solid start from Nate Eovaldi, a big offensive night from J.D. Martinez, some insurance runs late, and a desperately needed 6-0 victory.
The win snapped a horribly timed four-game losing streak for Boston, a streak which had inexplicably carried through the series opener on Tuesday.
At the same time of the Red Sox’ win, the Blue Jays got an eighth-inning home run from Bo Bichette to lift the Blue Jays to a 6-5 victory over the Yankees.
While the Red Sox are still competing with both the Blue Jays and Yankees for wild card spots in this final week of the season, they absolutely needed to have that series in Toronto not end in a sweep either way. With the Yankees having won the opener of that series, a 2-1 series win for one team is now guaranteed.
For the Red Sox, they also need to win their series in Baltimore. They should be able to handle that; the Orioles are starting Alexander Wells, who has a cool 7.61 ERA this season and who allowed five runs in five innings vs. Boston on Sept. 19.
Boston is currently a game behind New York for the top wild card spot, a half-game up on the Mariners, and one game up on the Blue Jays. A lot can happen between now and Sunday evening. The Yankees host the Rays for three this weekend, and the Rays won’t have much to play for, as they’ve locked up the top seed in the AL. Toronto gets three easy ones vs. Baltimore, and Seattle hosts the Angels (after an off night on Thursday).
For the four teams fighting for two spots, there are a lot of wins on the table in the coming four days — four days that will decide the season.
AL WILD CARD RACE
1. New York Yankees, 90-68, +1
2. Boston Red Sox, 89-69,
3. Seattle Mariners, 89-70, .5 GB
4. Toronto Blue Jays, 88-70,1 GB
Yet with a very winnable game on tap for Thursday, and three more winnable game in Washington to close out the season, and most importantly a cozy spot as the second wild card right now, the Red Sox remain in great position to at least secure a berth in the one-game playoff. If a couple of things break their way, they may still host that game.