These Next 11 Games for the Red Sox Provide a Huge Opportunity
(July 19, 2016 - Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
Evan Marinofsky Contributing Writer
In their last 10, the Red Sox are 8-2 and have regained their perch atop the AL East thanks in large part to Hanley Ramirez's home runs to every part of Fenway, Matt Barnes' cool as a cucumber-type performance last night, and just a whole lot of offense in their last 10 games.
As we celebrate being in first place again, we have to remember that there is still a lot more baseball to play and the Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, and yes, even the New York Yankees aren't just going to disappear. It's a 4-team race right now in the AL East and it will be a battle all the way up until the end.
Tonight, the Sox start a 4-game set against the Minnesota Twins at Fenway Park. The Twins are 35-59 and are the worst team in the American League. If the Red Sox want to stay in first place, let alone separate themselves from the pack of angry birds behind them (get it?), they will need to at the very least take 3 of 4.
While the Sox face the Twins, the Orioles will be playing the Yankees, who have been giving them a lot of trouble thus far, and then the Cleveland Indians who are too hot to touch. The Blue Jays will be playing the Seattle Mariners in Seattle.
After facing the Twins, the Sox will stay at home to face the Detroit Tigers. At 49-46, the Tigers certainly aren't the Twins (You don't say?), but they're a very beatable team. They're 4-6 in their last 10 games and at Fenway, the Red Sox and their '27 Yankees-type offense have the upper hand. While the Sox play the Tigers, the O's are in Colorado to play the Rockies and the Jays are in San Diego to play the Padres. The Red Sox must take at least 2 of 3 from the Tigers because the Blue Jays and Orioles will both be facing mediocre opponents.
(July 3, 2016 - Source: Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images North America)
To finish off July, the Red Sox will begin a West Coast road swing that starts with the Los Angeles Angels. The Angels are painful to watch this season and with 4 games against them, the Red Sox should be taking 3. I understand that it's on the road, but you've got to beat up on these trash bag-teams before entering a much tougher part of the schedule.
The Orioles and Blue Jays play each other to wrap up July.
I know that the summer goes by way too fast as is, but the point of slamming you with the schedule for the rest of July is to show that if all systems are on "go", the Red Sox can use these next 11 games as separation from the rest of the division. The Orioles haven't been playing well as of late while the Blue Jays have been. Nonetheless, these two teams will pounce on any stifle that the Red Sox encounter.
The Sox can't struggle against the Twins, Tigers, and Angels. These next 11 games need to be ones in which confidence, separation, and high-hopes are built.
In the words of Donald J. Trump, these next 11 games are "YUUUUUUGE".