Boston Red Sox Clinch Playoff Berth for 2017 MLB Postseason

Scott PolacekFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2017

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 14: CJackie Bradley Jr. #19, Andrew Benintendi #16, and Mookie Betts #50 of the Boston Red Sox celebrate a victory against the Oakland Athletics on September 14, 2017 at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

The Boston Red Sox clinched their spot in the 2017 MLB playoffs Wednesday when the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Cleveland Indians.

Boston has battled with the archrival New York Yankees throughout much of the campaign but has remained in first place in the American League East for the stretch run. While they haven't clinched the division yet, this marks the second straight year the Red Sox will be in the playoffs. They were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 AL Division Series.

Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe noted the Angels' loss means Boston will be in the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since a stretch from 2007 through 2009.

Boston's race to the playoff started in the offseason when it traded for ace pitcher Chris Sale, sending a package of prospects to the Chicago White Sox that included Yoan Moncada in the process.

Sale has been dominant atop the Red Sox rotation this season and is a primary candidate for the AL Cy Young.

With the southpaw leading the way, attention now turns to the postseason and Boston's attempt at its first World Series title since 2013.

The 2013 championship capped off an impressive era of 10 years where Boston won three World Series, including the one in 2004 that snapped an 86-year drought dating back to 1918. Since then, it finished last in the AL East in 2014 and 2015 before this recent resurgence.

Reaching the Fall Classic this year will not be an easy task. The Houston Astros dominated the AL West throughout the season, and the same Indians team that swept Boston in last year's playoffs on its way to a World Series turned heads in 2017 with a 22-game winning streak and many of the same primary pieces from the 2016 squad.

Sale gives the Red Sox a golden opportunity to win any series because he can start at least two contests in each round. However, there are question marks behind him with 2016 AL Cy Young winner Rick Porcello struggling to replicate last year's effort with a 4.46 ERA and David Price being used in the bullpen at times.

Price also sports a 5.54 postseason ERA throughout his career and allowed five earned runs in 3.1 innings in his one playoff start last season.

The Red Sox may need to rely on their lineup featuring potent pieces in Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi and Hanley Ramirez, among others, and take advantage of Sale's starts to win the championship this season.

Even with some question marks heading into the playoffs, the Red Sox have been one of the best teams in the league in 2017 and will officially have a chance at a title following Wednesday's clinching.