The last magic number that the Boston Red Sox needed to be concerned with finally went down to zero in a game against the Baltimore Orioles Saturday night. The Oakland Athletics lost and that gave Boston the best record overall in the AL. This gives Boston home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
This is huge for the Red Sox, and hopefully they will take every opportunity of this advantage. Boston has played extremely well at home this year with a record of 53 wins and 28 losses. One of the reasons why Boston has had such disappointing seasons during 2011 and 2012 is due to the fact that they did not play well at home.
Having a pumped-up Fenway Park crowd cheering Boston at every chance they get can only help this team. Hearing 35,000 fans singing Sweet Caroline at the top of their lungs to rally the Red Sox if they are behind is a beautiful sound.
John Farrell has been doing the right thing since the division was clinched and has rested his regulars, particularly players like Shane Victorino and Mike Napoli who have had some nagging injuries. He also has been able to ease Jacoby Ellsbury into game action after missing about a month.
He also has done some auditioning to see who might be best suited to play a set up role in the bullpen. At this point, he has gotten a good look at Ryan Dempster in the bullpen and has been able to see what pitchers like Matt Thornton and Felix Doubront can offer. Quintin Berry and John McDonald have gotten some good looks as well.
These are some of the tasks that Boston has the luxury of being able to do by having the best record and winning their division. At this point, they will have a four-day wait before playing their first game in the Division Series. Farrell is apparently going to have them play some simulated games so they won’t be too rusty.
They get to look forward to Friday and the start of the Division Series with their team in order, reasonably healthy and rested. Meanwhile, they will be facing a Wild Card team who may have traveled to two or three different cities within a few days and probably won’t have their rotation set up as they want. Boston has been inspired by playing at home, and hopefully having this edge can play a huge role in their October plans.