The direction of the 2012 Red Sox will be defined, at least in some part, by their actions at or preceding the trade deadline. That deadline is coming up fast, by the way. July 31 is twenty days away, and the Red Sox play 18 games between now and then. At 43-43 the Red Sox need to show some competency to keep the sell-off fairy away. Jacoby Ellsbury should be back soon, maybe as soon as this weekend's series with the Rays. Clay Buchholz is expected to follow suit in that regard. Those additions should help a lot.
But as we know, the quality of the Red Sox team is only one component of the outcome of any given baseball game. The other team is equally important. So, who will the Red Sox be facing between now and the last day of July?
Come find out after the jump.It should be noted first off that no one would characterize this as an easy schedule. In fact, well, ugh, here it is. We'll discuss it afterwards.
- July 13-15: at Tampa Bay Rays
- July 16-19: Chicago White Sox
- July 20-21: Toronto Blue Jays
- July 23-25: at Texas Rangers
- July 26: off
- July 27-29: at New York Yankees
- July 30-31: Detroit Tigers (this series concludes with game three on August 1)
If you're scoring at home, that's 18 games, nine at home, and nine on the road. Note that ten of those games will be played against the cream of the AL crop in the Yankees (best record overall), the Rangers (second best record overall), and the White Sox (fourth best record in the AL). Six of those games (New York and Texas) will be on the road. That's a tough assignment for a team that has had trouble beating, well, anyone consistently.
The average record of that group is 47-38 or exactly the record held by the White Sox right now. So, OTM, we've got 18 games before the deadline, all of them against the Chicago White Sox. The Red Sox can win the majority of those games. It's possible. Strong showings against Tampa and the Blue Jays while holding their own against Chicago would be a nice start and a shot to the ol' confidence before the six road games against the Rangers and Yankees in seven days.
Overall, I can't claim any of this fills me with confidence. If the Sox want the endorsement of management, they're going to have their work cut out for them.