The Red Sox defeated the Blue Jays 7-2 on Tuesday evening in Boston, clinching a playoff berth in the process. Brock Holt had the big hit, slugging a three-run home run off of Ryan Tepera in the seventh inning to turn a 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Chris Sale returned to the mound for the first time since August 12. He tossed one scoreless inning with two strikeouts as the “opener” before giving way to the bullpen.
Tuesday’s win was No. 99 on the season for the Red Sox, who also have only 46 losses on the season. They are currently on pace to win 111 games. The club record is 105 wins, held by the 1912 squad which won the World Series over the New York Giants.
As of this writing, the Yankees are losing 10-5 to the Twins, so the Red Sox stand to push their AL East lead to nine games. Any combination of 10 more Red Sox wins or Yankee losses will clinch the AL East for the Red Sox. If the Red Sox do indeed clinch the AL East as expected, it will be their third consecutive division title, a feat that currently has never been done in club history.
The Red Sox will also be mindful of home field advantage, holding the best record in the league. The Yankees and Astros both entered Tuesday 90-54, the closest competitors for home field advantage.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is not expected to retain his position with the club beyond the 2018 season, according to multiple reports from Jon Heyman of Fancred and Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports. Nothing appears to be finalized just yet, however, and the Orioles have yet to address rumors of Showalter’s impending departure or news of a possible contract extension for general manager Dan Duquette.
Even so, it’s been a year of near-unprecedented disaster for the 62-year-old skipper, who helped lead the team to a 44-108 record prior to the outcome of Friday’s series opener against the Yankees. With the Orioles’ 108th loss — a 4-6 heartbreaker against the Blue Jays on Tuesday — they tied the 1937 St. Louis Browns for the second-most losses in a single season, eclipsed only by the 43-111 record of the 1939 Browns. As they have just 10 games remaining in the regular season, this year’s team has no chance of climbing out of last place in the AL East and may well finish with the worst record in the AL to boot.
While the Orioles’ missteps don’t bode well for Showalter’s future in Baltimore, he’s brought far more good than harm to the organization over the last eight and a half years. He assumed the managerial position from interim manager Juan Samuel in the middle of the team’s 2010 season and guided the club to five winning seasons and three postseason appearances in 2012, 2014, and 2016. Entering the 2018 season, his record sits at 666 wins and 677 losses, the winningest mark by any of the team’s skippers since Earl Weaver wrapped his 17-season run with the team in 1986. Whether the Orioles believe Showalter is capable of recovering from two consecutive losing seasons and returning the team to their former days of glory (and the occasional division title) remains to be seen, of course, though there’s plenty to recommend him as they prepare to advance a full-scale rebuild over the offseason.