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Why Red Sox Remain Heavy Favorites In AL East

So, the weekend series against the Yankees didn’t go as planned.  In fact, the Red Sox offense got exposed and the Sox top two pitchers looked mediocre at best against the Sox biggest threat in the division.  After losing three of four, the Yankees have now become the trendy pick to come from behind and win the AL East.  Right?  Well not so fast!  In today’s post, we’re going to explain why that it isn’t going to happen and it’s not based on talent alone.

The Red Sox go into today with a 3.5 game lead over the Yankees with 25 games to go.  Certainly, 25 games is plenty of time to make up 3.5 games.  We see this happen all the time.  Teams go on runs.  Others collapse.  We all remember the Red Sox blowing a nine game lead over the Rays in September in 2011.  But, the real question is how likely is that the Red Sox are going to collapse against the competition they are facing in the final 25 games?

For starters, the Red Sox will play 16 of their final 25 games at Fenway Park.  On the season, the Red Sox are 40-25 at home.  No AL team has a better home record.  If you recall, in 2016, the Red Sox had a brutal September schedule.  This year, it’s the opposite.  Take a look at the opponents the Red Sox will face down the stretch.

Toronto Blue Jays – 63-74, last place in AL East – Six remaining games, all at home.  The Red Sox just came off of a sweep of the Jays in between playing very poor baseball agains the Orioles and Yankees.  The Jays are 3-7 in their last ten and have nothing to play for other than pride.

Tampa Bay Rays – 68-70, 4th place in AL East – Six remaining games, three at home, three on road.  The Rays are certainly capable of winning games against the Red Sox, but they’re running out of time to compete for the wild card.  Anything less that taking four of these six games would be a disappointment.

Oakland Athletics – 58-78, last place in AL West – Three remaining games at home.  This is a series that the Sox go into expecting a sweep.  The A’s are a brutal team, in general, but it gets even worse when they’re on the road.  They’re 21-47 on the road for the season and set up perfectly for the Sox to get the bats going.

Baltimore Orioles – 70-67, 3rd place in AL East, Three remaining games on road.  This is the one series on the remaining schedule that one could say could be a big problem for the Sox.  They just got swept by the O’s last weekend and Baltimore is making a hard push for a wild card spot.  This series is likely to mean something for both teams.

Cincinnati Reds – 58-79, last place in NL Central, Three remaining games on road.  Who set up this schedule?  The Red Sox don’t face the Yankees again, but they are playing the Cincinnati Reds in a weekend series on September 22nd?  This isn’t 1975.  Regardless, similar to the A’s, the Sox should be going into this series with the expectation of taking all three.

Houston Astros – 83-53, first place in AL West, Four remaining games at home.  This series closes out the regular season schedule?  Should be a tough one, right?  Well, if it were right now, it would be.  However, it’s very possible that the Astros will not have anything to play for.  They have a 13.5 game lead in their division.  They could be battling for home field with the Indians or even the Red Sox.  Stay tuned…

In summary, the Red Sox play four of their last eight series against last place teams.  They should clean up in these last 25 games.  They only have four remaining games against teams that would in the playoffs if the season ended today.

If the Sox were to ONLY go 15-10, the Yankees would have to go 19-7 to catch them and force a once game playoff for the division.  Highly unlikely.

Tough weekend series for sure.  Take a breath, Sox Nation.  The East crown still goes through Boston.

 

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