With the trade deadline come and gone, we have officially reached the stretch run for the Red Sox. It figures to be a fun one here in Boston, or in the worst case a very stressful one. The American League East seems as if it’s going to be close for the entirety of the last two months of the regular season. On top of that, the wildcard race will almost certainly be a tight mess as well. If the Red Sox are going to come out on top in those races, they are going to need a better month than they had in July. For as bad as that month seemed, they were only one game below .500 over the course of July and finished the month with a 13-14 record. Overall, their record stands at 58-49 and they find themselves a half-game behind the Yankees in the division and have a four game cushion for a playoff spot.
As we look ahead to the month ahead, the team will be playing 14 games at home and 13 on the road, which is obviously only a slight advantage. The good news is that they don’t really have to travel very far for those 13 road games. Over the course of the month, the farthest they will have to travel is to Cleveland. Other than that, the games will remain on the East Coast.
Speaking of which, they have some pivotal games with some key divisional opponents. Headlining those games are six against the Yankees, with three on the road and three at Fenway in the span of about a week. Next week also features a little two-game set in Tampa Bay, a team that currently trails the Red Sox by only four games and has seemingly had Boston’s number through all of 2017. In addition to those three big series, the Red Sox also have seven games (including Monday night’s win that actually came in July) against the AL Central-leading Indians. Along with the current three-game set at Fenway they also have a four-game series in Cleveland.
Besides those tough games, they also have a few series that they should be able to handle if they’re clicking on all cylinders. That includes the series this weekend as they face off for four games against the Extremely Rebuilding White Sox™. After that, they have two games against the Cardinals, who have been disappointing this year, along with three against Baltimore and three against Toronto. All total, by my count they have 12 games against beatable teams and 15 against contenders. That’s a tough ratio, but if they can go .500 against the good teams and win, say, three of every four against the bad ones, they leave the month with a good record.
The final key to this month is that they should get a good amount of rest. Next week in particular is an interestingly scheduled week, as they have both Monday and Thursday off. In fact, they have both of those days off in the following week as well. Four days of rest in two weeks is huge for a team that will obviously be tiring a bit down the stretch. Those are their only days off in August, but it’s still a big boost.
Overall, it seems like the Red Sox should be able to bounce back this month. Of course, we’ve seen them drop plenty of winnable games of late so your guess is as good as ming as to whether or not they’ll take advantage of this schedule. What do you think? How will they finish the 27 games they play this month?