With injuries mounting and interleague play doing little to abet their once-strong play, the Boston Red Sox have fallen into second place in the American League East as of Sunday morning, one game in the loss column behind the rival New York Yankees. The Red Sox have two losses on the Tampa Bay Rays, and are well clear of the rest of the division:
New York Yankees (44-31)
Boston Red Sox (44-32, one game behind)
Tampa Bay Rays (43-34, three games behind)
Toronto Blue Jays (38-39, eight games behind)
Baltimore Orioles (34-40, nine games behind)
The Red Sox have been without shortstop Jed Lowrie and left fielder Carl Crawford for about a week now, as Lowrie is on the DL with a bruised nerve in his left shoulder and Crawford has a strained hamstring. They're also missing reliever Bobby Jenks (back) and starting pitchers Daisuke Matsuzaka (elbow, out for year), Clay Buchholz (back) and Josh Beckett (flu), although Beckett is scheduled to start when the Red Sox head to Philadelphia on Tuesday.
Because Boston's in the middle of a stretch of nine straight games played at National League stadiums, they've also effectively lost David Ortiz as their designated hitter. Ortiz has been one of the Red Sox' most consistent offensive forces all season long, and his bat out of the lineup has meant that Darnell McDonald, Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Josh Reddick have taken over the fifth spot in the lineup. While Reddick and Saltalamacchia have been swinging the bat well of late, they're certainly no Ortiz.
The Red Sox finish look to salvage a three-game series Sunday afternoon at Pittsburgh before heading to Philadelphia and then Houston to round out interleague play.
For complete MLB standings, click here.