Finally, finally the schedule has let up. After facing the rest of the A.L. East (tied, at the moment, with the N.L. Central for the strongest division) and three teams expected to contend in their divisions, the Red Sox finally get what looks like an easy opponent: the Houston Astros.
The Astros' problems are numerous, and hardly unexpected. Their approach to this season from well before it began can best be summed up as tanking. They knew there was no chance for this team to compete, so they minimized the costs and aimed for some young players and high draft picks.
Still, this is a major league baseball team. Technically. And on any given day they can take out any other team, the Red Sox included. They've beaten the Rangers, Angels, and Indians, and they can beat the Red Sox if the Red Sox aren't playing well.
Today, though? Today they really shouldn't. This isn't Felix Doubront, or John Lackey coming off the DL. It's Clay Buchholz, whose earned runs can still be counted on one hand. Being realistic, being cautious, avoiding hubris, that's all well and good most of the time. But tonight this really is about taking care of business. Let's just hope the Sox do so.