Other Acceptable Short Answer: No.
On August 24, the Red Sox dropped to 7.5 GB and the New York press pronounced the AL East race over. And I presented various scenarios whereby Boston could come back.
Since that time, the Red Sox have held up their end of the bargain, going 19-6, but the Yankees (17-9) have not.
The Baseball Prospectus and Cool Standings odds of New York winning the division have decreased slightly from August 24 -- now anywhere from 90.4% to 96.1%. That is still a steep hill to climb, but with the lead in the East down to five games, the smallest deficit since August 7, there is talk of Boston making a late run.
While Boston visits the lowly Royals for four games, the Yankees are in Anaheim, where they are 0-3 against the Angels this season and 5-17 since 2005.
Yankees 95-55 --- 12 games leftThe Red Sox must sweep the Yankees next weekend to have any chance of winning the division. Assuming a three-game sweep against the team with the best record in MLB is a big "if", but ...
Red Sox 89-59 5.0 14 games left
Yankees Red Sox
0921 at LAA at KC
0922 at LAA at KC
0923 at LAA at KC
0924 OFF at KC
0925 vs BOS at NYY
0926 vs BOS at NYY
0927 vs BOS at NYY
0928 vs KC vs TOR
0929 vs KC vs TOR
0930 vs KC vs TOR
1001 OFF vs CLE
1002 at TB vs CLE
1003 at TB vs CLE
1004 at TB vs CLE
If Boston does sweep, and the Yankees go 4-5 in its other nine games, the Red Sox would have to go 7-4 in its remaining games. The teams would tie at 99-63, and Boston would win the division because of what then would be a 12-6 advantage in the season series.
Overall, even if New York goes 6-6, the Red Sox need a 12-2 finish.
Will Terry Francona and the front office push for the division? I don't think so. We care far more about winning the division vs wild card than management does.
With an eight-game lead in the Wild Card race, the Red Sox will be playing October baseball. And getting pitchers and position players rested and ready is the most important thing. If the wins come during those preparations, great. But I cannot see the team deciding to do something different in the final week of the season just because, for example, the Red Sox are only 1 GB next Monday morning.
The bottom line is I want the Red Sox to win the East and since it remains mathematically possible, that's what I'm rooting for. (Don't we always want Boston to win and New York to lose?) If it happens, it'll be historic. And if it doesn't, the Red Sox are still in the post-season. It's a win-win, right?