After last night’s heartbreaking loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the Boston Red Sox find themselves half a game behind their new arch rival in the AL East. The two teams have put themselves in position for a furious finish where every game counts. They only face each other one more time in September, so both teams will look to separate themselves by beating up on the competition in August.
So who does the schedule give the advantage to? Right now, it certainly looks like Boston.
Here’s who the Red Sox face for the next month: Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks, four games with the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals, then three with the Toronto Blue Jays, New York Yankees, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, and Chicago White Sox.
The good news for Red Sox fans is that all of those teams stink right now, except for the Dodgers and Orioles.
The Rays have a similar but slightly harder schedule in August. They have four upcoming games with the Diamondbacks as well, and will also see the Dodgers, Giants, Mariners, Blue Jays, Orioles and Yankees. The difference is that instead of series against the Royals, Astros and White Sox, Tampa Bay will have to face the much more formidable Anaheim Angels and Oakland Athletics.
August, therefore, is a critical month for both teams. The Red Sox must dominate their next 31 games against their inferior opponents. Ideally, they should aim to win between 20 and 24 of those games, and hope to have a four or five game lead over the Rays going into September. Anything else would have to be considered a disappointment.