AL East leader
Boston Red Sox
Overall record (through Sunday): 81-62
Last week: 4-2
This week: Off Monday; vs. Oakland Athletics (Tue.-Thu.); at Tampa Bay Rays (Fri.-Sun.)
The Red Sox continued to prove themselves to be the class of the East Division with a pair of series wins over familiar foes the past seven days. Boston bookended the week with losses but in between pulled off four wins—two each against Toronto and Tampa Bay.
Aside from a rough Monday (Who doesn’t have those, right?), Boston’s pitching staff enjoyed a stellar week. The team gave up a total of 20 runs during the week with exactly half of those coming in a 10-4 loss to Toronto on Monday. The rest was spread out over the final five games—with their opposition scoring just six combined runs in the Red Sox’s four victories.
Boston had a tough schedule to close out August but has started to take advantage of a soft September slate. A trio of games against the Yankees to start the month and another three against the Astros to close it (plus one more with Houston on Oct. 1) are really the only truly challenging games the team was to have this month.
Every other team they play is currently under .500, three of those teams—Oakland, Cincinnati and Toronto—are well under the mark. The Rays and Orioles are within touching distance of being even on the season, and both very well could be at or above .500 when they host Boston. That alone wouldn’t suddenly make it a difficult stretch for the Red Sox.
The best thing for this team is for the Yankees to keep pushing them. Complacency is about the only thing that could cost this team a division title. Even with Houston still holding a decent lead in the race for the AL’s second playoff seed, the Red Sox would have to feel good about their chances of eventually overtaking the Astros, especially with that four-game set at home to close the season in their back pocket.