Next 10 games crucial for Red Sox

Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox will need to continue to play at an elite level these next 10 days to maintain their lead in the AL East. Credit: Getty Images
Dustin Pedroia and the Red Sox will need to continue to play at an elite level these next 10 days to maintain their lead in the AL East. Credit: Getty Images

The Red Sox will enter the unofficial second half of the season with the best record in the American League at 58-39 and leading the American League East by 2.5 games over the Rays. Not many people would have believed this going into the season given the team was coming off a horrid 69-win campaign in 2012.

As 2013 has gone on many have been waiting for the Red Sox to fall off, but that has yet to have happened. One of the biggest tests for this year’s group will come immediately out of the gate following the All-Star break with 10 straight games against AL East opponents in the Yankees, Rays and Orioles beginning Friday night against the Yanks (7:10, NESN) at Fenway Park.

“There’s a lot more games left to be played,” Farrell told reporters in Oakland where the Red Sox ended their first half. “We have a tough schedule ahead of us. We’ve got probably more than half of the games we play against teams with above .500 records. … We’re going to get back into our division. It’s deep, strong. And we’re looking forward to getting off the West Coast, I can tell you that, and looking forward to getting back to Fenway Park and playing a lot of games there.”

Fortunately for the Red Sox, they will play seven of those 10 games and 13 of their next 16 at the friendly confines of Fenway Park. At home this season the Sox are 31-16, which is the third-best home record in all of major league baseball and second in the American League.

These next 10 games will say a lot about this year’s Red Sox team with their next three opponents being the three teams chasing them for first place in the AL East and all three within striking distance. While the Rays are 2.5 games out, the Orioles are 4.5 and despite all of the Yankees injuries they remain in the hunt, six games behind.

So far this season the Red Sox are 23-15 against AL East opponents, including a 9-3 record against the Rays. They have struggled against the Orioles as they are just 2-5 against them on the year. If the Red Sox can come out of this stretch still on top of the AL East they will solidify themselves as serious playoff contenders, something they haven’t done since 2009.

Just making the playoffs shouldn’t satisfy the Red Sox, as they are after a division title. Playing in a one-game wild card playoff under MLB’s new playoff rules is one risky consolation prize.

Leading the AL East at the All-Star break is not unfamiliar territory for Boston as it has led at this point in the year seven of last nine seasons. But actually winning the division has proven difficult as of those seven times they’ve led, only once have they captured the division crown. Getting off to a good start to begin the second half and extending their lead in the division would do wonders to break their trend of not being able to close.

Follow Metro Red Sox beat writer Ryan Hannable on Twitter @hannable84



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

Local

Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Local

VIDEO: Cop reassigned as NYPD investigates alleged head…

An officer alleged to have stomped on a Brooklyn man's head last week had his gun taken away and placed on modified duty.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…

Career

Feeling stuck? Get out of the entry-level job…

Television and movies may be littered with 20-something characters who seem directionless when it comes to their careers, but author Mary Traina says she finds…