The Red Sox' playoff chances aren't dead yet, but their closest friends and family members have been notified that it may not be long now.
The team's precipitous slide in the standings has taken place at an alarming pace. A week ago Sunday, they were tied for the second wildcard spot, and now, they sit six full games out after Wednesday night's 4-4 game with the Royals was suspended and will be resumed Aug. 22.
The prospect of more than a month and a half of irrelevant baseball is enough to discourage any Red Sox fan.
All, however, is not lost. Starting Thursday, fans going to the ballpark -- or watching at home -- can treat themselves to not just the greatest player in the game, but one of the greatest of all time.
That's not hyperbole when it comes to Mike Trout, who arrives Thursday with the rest of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a four-game series. That's fact.
"When you think about a franchise player,'' said Red Sox bench coach Ron Roenicke, who was an Angels coach for several seasons with Trout, "that's who you think about. The talent, the work ethic, the understanding of who he is as a big superstar, and yet he still goes and signs autographs and knows everyone in the ballpark. He's not just a great player, but he's extremely coachable. If there's a little flaw in his game, he wants to work on it.
"It doesn't get any better than him.''
Trout's Angels are behind even the Red Sox in the wild card chase, a game under 500, but