The Red Sox’ 2017 schedule has been set, featuring an interleague opening series, and a seven-game homestand to finish the year with the Astros as their last regular season opponents.
While the Sox will have to play a National League opponent in the Pirates to start the year, they’ll get to do so on their home turn using American League rules. It’s the first time since 2010 that the Red Sox get to open the season in Fenway, with the Sox generally kept away in somewhat warmer climates to avoid the possibility of a snow-out.
If the Red Sox can avoid inconvenient postponements, they should also manage to avoid some of the sillier stretches they’ve had this season. The Sox are scheduled for just the one real gauntlet run, playing 20 straight from the middle of August into early September.
As for the other truly exhausting event in any given schedule, the Sox will head out west for a four-game set in May, and endure their longest stretch of late-night baseball from July 21st through the 26th against the Angels and Mariners.
And of course, there’s the Yankees series. The age-old rivals won’t see eachother until the Sox have faced each other AL East team at least once, squaring off in Fenway Park on the 25th of April and in New York on the sixth of June. That season series is relatively well spread-out, though the Sox have another big AL East stretch like this final month of 2016 starting during that 20-game stretch in August, with five straight series against their division competition.
In terms of actually picking out the toughest stretches, well, it’s hard to say. Every year tends to shake up the standings in unexpected ways, especially these days. Right now, that August-to-September marathon does seem like it’s going to be rough. From the 11th of August to the 6th of September, the Sox will play nine games against New York, six against Toronto, four against Cleveland, three against the Jays, and two against the Cardinals—all teams that stand to pose a threat in 2017. But only time will tell.