The dog days are here, and while the Red Sox start August with a day off, things are about to get tough for this team. Fortunately, they have shown they are outstanding all year long, and that continued through July. They haven’t had a weak month all year long, and that has turned into a five-game lead over the Yankees with two months to go. In July, the Red Sox ended the month with a 19-6 record (a 123-win pace), pushing their overall record to 75-34 (a 111-win pace). That seems good! Special shout to Phantom255x, cds7c and me for all coming within a game of a correct prediction. We’re all great!
August figures to be a real test for this Red Sox team, with a mix of travel and tough teams on the slate in the month. Granted, the travel is not very far — they don’t go beyond Chicago — but there is a relatively long trip in the middle of the month. They also face three projected playoff teams in August.
We start with the travel, though. Like I said, they don’t have to go too far as the team got their west-coast trips out of the way early this season. However, after four home games to start the month they embark on a nine-game trip that includes a doubleheader in Baltimore. Fortunately, they stay East for the whole trip, with three in Toronto, four in Baltimore and two in Philadelphia. There is also an off-day mixed in between Baltimore and Philadelphia. After that, they don’t have any long homestand or road trip, with seven at home, a three-game trip to Miami, a two-day pitstop back at Fenway before heading out to Chicago to finish off the month. All told, it’s a fairly even split with 14 games on the road and 13 at Fenway.
As far as the talent they will face goes, it’s an extremely mixed bag. This is to be expected, as the American League is so heavily tiered this year. As I said, they face three projected playoff teams with four against the Yankees, four against the Indians and two against the Phillies. The first two are shoe-ins for the postseason at this point, and the Phillies currently lead a tight NL East. On the flip side, they face a few teams at the bottom of the league, with four against Baltimore, two against Miami and two against the White Sox. There are also three against the Blue Jays, who aren’t good but also aren’t in the class of those other teams. Finally, the Red Sox will face the Rays six times in August, and they are a low-key competitive team that could be trouble. So, if we spit the league into quadrants (contenders, good non-contenders, non-terrible and terrible), the Red Sox have ten in quadrant one, six in quadrant two, three in quadrant three and eight in quadrant four.
All things told, this will not be a breeze of a month for this team. We said they needed to use July to pad their record, and that’s exactly what they did. With some real tests in the coming month, we could see them take a bit of a step back, but in the end they are still incredibly talented. They should be more good than bad, and I’ll predict a 17-10 record for the month. Now it’s your turn. What’s your August prediction?