The next 3 series the Red Sox play could be the most important series this regular season.
It could blow the season wide open.
It could torpedo a fantastic recovery that has the fan base talking about post-season before the All Star break.
It is the tipping point.
Let's look at the positive scenario*, with the first series at Fenway with 3 games against the New York Yankees. A team from their own division that is currently 6 games back. Sweep the Yankees and the Red Sox put them 10 games back, almost a death blow.
At the same time the Rays will be playing the Blue Jays. With a bit of luck the Rays will drop a game at least to the Blue Jays and that could potentially put the Red Sox 3.5 games ahead in the division at that point. The Orioles will be playing the Rangers and assuming they can take 2 out of 3 it would put them 5.5 games back from the Red Sox.
The second series is also at Fenway with 4 games against the Rays. Every game they can win will pull them a game further away from the Rays, with a sweep putting them 7.5 games ahead in the division.
At the same time the Yankees will be playing 4 games against the Rangers, let's say they split the series putting the Yankees 12 games back. The Orioles will be playing 4 games against the Royals who are on a 5 game losing streak. Assuming the Orioles can pull 3 out of 4 then they would have a pretty good chance of climbing into second place in the division with the Rays at 6.5 games back. The Blue Jays will be playing a 4 game set at home against the Dodgers, lets assume they split that series putting the Blue Jays 15,5 games back in the cellar.
The final series will be 3 games against the Orioles at Camden Yards. A sweep there would put the Red Sox then 9.5 games ahead of the Orioles in the division.
The Rays play 3 games against the Yankees at the same time, pulling 2 of 3 wins out of that series would put them 8.5 games back and in third place in the division. The Yankees would then be 15 games back and in the cellar. The Blue Jays will be at home against the Astros for a 4 game series. Let's assume the best and the Blue Jays take 3 out of 4 games which would put them 14,5 games back and in third place just in front of the Yankees.
- Red Sox
14.5 Blue Jays
I am a positive person so I like this scenario.
The other scenario* would be that the Red Sox pitching problems catch up to them and that they win just one game in each series while the rest of perform as outlined above.
I shudder to think of this scenario, but here is goes.
After the first series where the Red Sox drop 2 of 3 to the Yankees. The Rays take 2 of 3 from the Blue Jays in their series. The Orioles take 2 of 3 from the Rangers in their series. This puts the Red Sox 1.5 games in front of the Rays, 3.5 games in front of the Orioles, 5 games in front of the Yankees, and leaves the Blue Jays in the cellar at 11,5 games back.
The second series would have the Red Sox drop 3 of 4 to the Rays. The Yankees split 4 games with the Rangers, the Orioles take 3 of 4 from the Royals, and the Blue Jays splitting 4 games with the Dodgers. This puts the Rays in first place in the division, the Red Sox at 0.5 games back, the Orioles back 1.5 games, the Yankees 4 games back, and in the cellar are the Blue Jays at 10.5 games back.
In the final series the meltdown would be complete with the Red Sox losing 2 of 3 to the Orioles, the Rays taking 2 of 3 from the Yankees, the Blue Jays taking 3 of 4 from the Astros. This puts the Rays at the top of the division with the Orioles 1.5 games back in second, the Red Sox at 2 games back in third place, the Yankees around 5 games back, and the cellar solidly nested in by the Blue Jays at 11.5 games back.
2.0 Red Sox
11.5 Blue Jays
The next two week will be the tipping point, no doubt about it.
Vacation is over, time to get to work, game on.
Will their pitching woes finally be exposed?
Will they take a dive in their division?
Will the Red Sox make a serious move on the rest of the division?
* all standings have been calculated on the fly using a mix of fantasy, fun, and with a few grains of scientific mathematical hocus-pocus mixed in for good measure.
Eric is a contributing writer since 2013 and a true Overseas Fan of the Boston Red Sox living in the Netherlands. He's spent years on baseball fields around the world pitching. His weekends are now spent helping the next generations of pitchers to find their passion and love for the sport. More articles by Eric: https://www.redsoxlife.com/search/label/ericschabell