Well…not quite down the drain yet, but spiraling faster with every loss. I have gone on record as refusing to give up hope, and I will not. But the 2006 season is very quickly becoming just a numbers game. The Yankees’ magic number for the division is only 19, their 8-game lead looking almost insurmountable. The wild card isn’t quite that far out of reach, especially with a head-to-head series with the White Sox next week.

The simple fact is that the Red Sox cannot win consistently with the team they are putting on the field every day. But, screams the glass-half-full voice inside me, that could change drastically over the next few days. Trot, Captain Tek and Alex Gonzalez are all playing in AAA, and may be ready to rejoin the big club as soon as tomorrow or Monday. Trot and Tek were both 2-4 on Saturday, A-Gon was 1-3. Big Papi will be evaluated Monday and is likely to be cleared to play. Curiously, there is very little word on Manny.

Josh Beckett takes the hill today, looking to give his third consecutive strong outing. The Sox will need it, as well as some cooperation from the weather, to try to take 3-out-of-4 from the Jays. Who knows, a win tomorrow and a miracle from KC and the Sox go into a series at home against the White Sox just 5-and-a-half games out of the wild card. Maybe with a major league line-up on the field.

Just a few more weeks, don’t give up yet. Stranger things have happened…