Now comes the hard part.


Perhaps the softest, squishiest and most calorie-laden part of the Red Sox’ schedule is now complete. For the past 22 games, since starting 4-9, the Sox have feasted on the likes of Texas, Toronto, Anaheim and Baltimore. And though the Orioles proved a bit gamey, the Red Sox were able to right their ship with a 14-8 mark, even allowing for a 1-2 series against their only formidable foe, the Yankees.


But as well as they played, the Red Sox were confronted with the hard truth of 2010: The Yankees and Rays aren’t going anywhere. Now at 18-17, the Red Sox made up just one game in the loss column on the Yankees during their 14-8 stretch, pulling within five, and lost a game to the division-leading Rays, falling back by even more.


And the road gets much rougher starting tonight. Eleven of the next 13 games are on the road. The Tigers (Friday-Sunday), Yankees (May 17-18), Twins (May 19-20 at Fenway) and Rays (May 25-26) have the top four records in the American League. The Phillies (May 21-23), leading off a brutal interleague schedule, have the second-best record in the NL.


Will it be feast, or famine?