As of five minutes ago, the Red Sox are eliminated from playoff contention. The Yankees 6-1 win over Toronto just ended, so it's now mathematically impossible for the Sox to catch them, despite the fact that Boston may finish with the fifth best record in all of baseball.
The Red Sox started 4-9 this year, and there wasn't one moment all season when I felt like they were legitimate World Series contenders. Yet they stayed in playoff contention through the final week of the season through injuries and a horrible bullpen, one in which only Daniel Bard played well all year.
Part of me thinks this means they could contend for another World Series next year, with better health. And part of me thinks next year they'll spin it that, "We almost made the playoffs without a consistent leadoff hitter and terrible bullpen, so all we need to do is stay the course and we'll be fine."
In my humble opinion, the latter would not be a good mindset. They played over their heads this year and nearly got away with it. Next year they may not be so lucky.