We are now one month away from the end of the regular season, which is crazy. It only seems like yesterday when I was sitting in Arizona watching the Red Sox get destroyed day after day out on the west coast, getting this season off to what turned out to be an ominous start. Things have certainly stabilized since then, but Boston finds themselves in a hole from those early-season struggles. They are, however, coming off a month of August that saw them go 14-13, with things going particularly well in the second half of the month.
Now, the team sits with a 73-63 record on the year and are 5.5 games out of the second wildcard. That is certainly an uphill climb and the odds are against them, but Kevin Garnett taught us anything is possible. Let’s take a look at how September stacks up for this team, with them needing to go on a huge run this month to play into October.
We’ll start with the home/road split, as they obviously start the month out west for the final game of their three-game series in Los Angeles against the Angels. After that, they return home for seven games. That is followed by a five-game road trip before a quick three-game return to Fenway before finishing up with seven on the road and three more at home. All in all, they’ll have 13 games at home and 13 on the road. Most of those road games are close, though their final trip of the year is out in Texas against the Rangers.
In terms of competition, the Red Sox do have some tough teams on their schedule. Their first full series of the month is against the Central-leading Twins and that is immediately followed by four against the Yankees. That seven-game stretch could very well define the season. They also have two games against the Phillies and what could be a massive four-game series in Tampa Bay in the second-to-last week of the month. On the other end of the spectrum, they have three against the Blue Jays, three against the Giants, three against the Rangers and three against the Orioles. Overall, of their 26 games 13 are against contenders and 13 are against teams that are out of it.
So, how will this month end up? The team is likely going to need to go at least 19-7 if they want a real chance at the playoffs. That would put them at 92 wins. Right now, the Rays and A’s are tied for the second wildcard spot and are on a 93-win pace. That is certainly a lot to ask for from the Red Sox in a month that is not exactly a cakewalk. I think they’ll be able to stay in contention into the final week of the season, but ultimately I see them going 16-10 and finishing the year with 89 wins, a few games out of the playoffs. What say you?