We are one somehow, some way, only one month away from the end of the regular season. The month of September is sure to be a fun one around the league, but we are all hoping that the AL East sits out the excitement and lets the other races take the national spotlight. Even if the Red Sox are able to pull away in the division, the MVP race is sure to take center stage in Boston, and the Cy Young race could as well depending on when Chris Sale is able to return. Of course, the playoffs are the focus, and the Red Sox took a big step in that direction in August. They finished the month with an 18-9 with a loss record, moving their overall record to 93-43 on the year. Shoutout to Phantom255x, Joe_Danger and fishfans for your correct predictions on the team’s August record.
The coming month is not going to be an easy one for the Red Sox, though September is always a weird part of the calendar compared to the rest of the year. Rosters are expanded and teams are playing different players. Plus, as you get deeper into the month teams have clinched their playoff position and are no longer going all out. Still, at this point all we can do is assume teams will be playing their best, and if that’s the case the Red Sox don’t exactly have a cakewalk in September.
In terms of travel, it is not a very rigorous schedule. This is particularly true compared to the Yankees, who have a west-coast road trip in the season’s final month. They are on the road for a big, though, starting September with a five-game road trip. That is followed by a nine-game homestand before heading back on the road for six games. Finally, they finish the season with six games at Fenway, hopefully with plenty of champagne. All told, they have 15 games at home compared to 11 on the road. Boston will also have four days off this month.
Things get a little dicier when you start to look at the level of competition, however. They start with a rebuilding team, but as we know that team is a little better than their record may indicate. It’s the final two games of this current White Sox series. From there, they head to Atlanta to play a Braves team that currently leads the National League East and is looking to keep it that way. It doesn’t get any easier from there, either, with Houston coming to town for a three-game set. That’s a really tough six-game stretch for the Red Sox, though they do get a day off between the final Braves game and the first Astros matchup. After the Astros they get a bit of a reprieve with three against Toronto and three against the Mets before starting a potentially huge three-game set in the Bronx against the Yankees. They head to Cleveland for three more from there before returning home for three against the Orioles and three against the Yanks to finish it off. When you add it all up, the Red Sox have 15 games against contenders and 11 against non-contenders. Like I said, it’s going to be a test.
So, right now the Red Sox have a 7.5-game lead in the division and are looking to be able to clinch relatively early and get some rest at the end of the month. To do so, they’ll have to have a good month against tough competition. I’ll predict they do so, saying they’ll finish September with a record of 17-9, giving them a final record of 110-52. What say you?