Five key factors to watch for in the September pennant races

Monday September 2nd, 2013

Last year's AL Manager of the Year vote featured a tight race between the Orioles' Buck Showalter and the Athletics' Bob Melvin, both of whom spearheaded their teams' remarkable rises from obscurity. The race for this year's award doesn't figure to be too tight (with apologies to deserving runner-up Joe Girardi of the Yankees) given what first-year Red Sox manager John Farrell has done in Boston. Farrell has overseen the turnaround from last year's 69-win disaster -- not to mention the previous year's historic September collapse. His club has 82 wins and a 5 ½ game lead in the AL East. Surely that's worth Mike Aviles and David Carpenter, the players the Red Sox traded to the Blue Jays to get Farrell.

The Red Sox could get Clay Buchholz back as they try to fend off a crowded field of AL East contenders.
Michael K. Ivins/Getty Images
SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.