Updating and Predicting the AL Wild Card Race

After going 2-4 in their rigorous series with the Rays and White Sox, the Red Sox now hold the second Wild Card spot in the American League, with Toronto holding the first. Boston now sits just one game ahead of the Yankees for the second Wild Card spot, and three games in front of the Athletics and Mariners. The Red Sox will now travel to Seattle to face-off with the Mariners in a series that could have big playoff implications. 

What’s ahead? 

With the Wild Card narrowed down to just the Blue Jays, Red Sox, Yankees, Athletics, and Mariners, this is what the remaining schedule looks like for those squads. 

Toronto Blue Jays- vs Rays (3), vs Twins (3), @ Rays (3), @ Twins (4), vs Yankees (3), vs Orioles (3)

Boston Red Sox- @ Mariners (3), vs Orioles (3), vs Mets (2), vs Yankees (3), @ Orioles (3), @ Nationals (3)

New York Yankees- Vs Twins (1), @ Orioles (3), vs Indians (3), vs Rangers (3), @ Red Sox (3), @ Blue Jays (3), vs Rays (3)

Oakland Athletics- @ Royals (3), @ Angels (3), vs Mariners (4), vs Astros (3), @ Mariners (3), @ Houston (3)

Seattle Mariners- vs Red Sox (3), @ Royals (3), @ Athletics (4), @ Angels (3), vs Oakland (3), vs Angels (3)

AL West

The Athletics and Mariners are set to meet each other seven times before the end of the season. With the season series between the two at 7-5, these two very well could knock each other out of the Wild Card race. The two teams have been evenly matched this season, so it is unlikely one dominates the other in their remaining seven games. 

The Athletics also draw the unfortunate task of taking on the Houston Astros six times before the end of the season. Houston and Chicago and currently neck and neck to decide who will have home-field advantage for the ALDS. This means there will be no easy games for the Athletics when they see the Astros. 

The Mariners will see their division foe Los Angeles Angels six times before the season ends. In their 12 matchups this season, the Mariners lead the season series 7-5. The Angels have been tough for the Mariners this season, so their six games could be another factor that drops Seattle in the standings. 

The schedule is not in favor of the Mariners and Athletics moving forward. With both teams three games back of the second Wild Card spot, it is unlikely each team can catch up, IF the Red Sox take care of business in their series with the Mariners this week. If the Red Sox can take care of Seattle, Houston will do the rest with Oakland. 

AL East

The AL East is where things get interesting. The Blue Jays have clawed all the way back into things and now hold the number one spot in the Wild Card. Toronto is a team the Red Sox do not want to see. We have seen what the Blue Jays are capable of, beating up the Red Sox by double digit runs a few times this season.

This race will be tight all the way up until playoff time. As I stated in another recent article, the schedule is in the Red Sox favor once again, but they will need to capitalize.

The Blue Jays will play the first place Tampa Bay Rays six times before the end of the season. The Rays are 8-5 against Toronto this season. The Blue Jays will also see the Twins seven times before the end of the season, who have the ability to put up good offensive numbers.

The Yankees will see the Blue Jays and Rays, as well as come to Boston for a three game series. If the Red Sox hold up their end and capitalize on the schedule, they could be shaping up to land that number one spot. The Red Sox will need some help so they don’t have to see Toronto though.

Red Sox Host Rays In Must Win Series

Despite being 2-8 in their last 10 games, and having lost their last three series, the Red Sox still remain well in the thick of things in the AL East race. But this upcoming series with the Tampa Bay Rays could be their last gasp. 

Frustration mounts as Red Sox get jumped by Blue Jays in fifth | Sports |  eagletribune.com

The Red Sox have looked like a completely different team since the trade deadline, and it’s hurting them in the AL East race. The Red Sox have had a chance to bury both the Blue Jays and the Yankees in the standings and have failed to do so, now both teams have crawled back into the picture. I mentioned the Red Sox are 2-8 in their last 10 games… the Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees are all 8-2 in their last 10. Yet the Red Sox still sit in second place in the division with another golden opportunity to prove themselves looming ahead. 

The Red Sox will have today off before taking on the Rays for a three game set at Fenway Park. Needless to say, this will be a must win series for the Red Sox, as Boston currently sits four games behind Tampa, who is slowly starting to run away with the AL East. The reason for the Red Sox struggles are simple, and honestly, could be worrisome. But if there is one thing we have learned from this 2021 Red Sox team, it is that they don’t give up. So what is it the Red Sox need to fix prior to taking on the Rays in this monumental series? 

Bullpen Needs To Find Themselves

Let’s start with the obvious, the bullpen needs to be better. The Red Sox bullpen may have over achieved a bit prior to the All Star Break, but they have been really bad as of late. In the last seven days, Red Sox relievers have an average ERA of 4.25, and an average WHIP 1.34. The Red Sox bullpen has been great most of this season, but they have been struggling mightily during this skid. That is the team will need to fix to return to where they were. 

Bats Need To Get Going

Prior to Sunday’s eight run game, the Red Sox were averaging just 2.5 runs per game over their last series. Prior to the All Star break, the Red Sox were averaging 5 runs per game. With the bullpen struggling the way they are, the Red Sox need to provide more run support. 

If the Red Sox want to keep their AL East championship hopes alive, this is the biggest series of the season so far. Luckily for the Red Sox, they will be returning back to Fenway Park for this series, where they are 20-9 since the stadium returned to full capacity. 

Should We Be Worried About The Red Sox Struggles?

With last night’s 9-1 loss to the New York Yankees, the Red Sox have lost their last three series. They are now 6-7 in the month of July. The Red Sox have been outscored 47-35 in their last three series and have a record of 3-6 in those games. These numbers certainly raise some eyebrows, but should we be worried about the Red Sox struggles?

Boston Red Sox's bats go quiet in 9-1 loss to Yankees; team has now lost 6  of last 8 games, last 3 series - masslive.com

In short, no we shouldn’t. Prior to going on this mini skid the Red Sox won eight games in a row. The MLB season is 162 games long, so the team is bound to face some adversity over the course of the season. Boston really hasn’t faced any adversity since the opening series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Red Sox Have Plenty Of Chances To Build Division Lead

Relax, The Red Sox still sit on top of the AL East. They also have one of the best records in baseball. With that being said, the Red Sox will need to turn their recent misfortunes around if they want to remain at the top of the AL East. 

The Red Sox also have plenty of opportunities to prove why they are the best team in the AL East. Boston will play AL East teams in 26 out of their next 29 games. Though only three of those games will be against the Tampa Bay Rays, who sit just a half game behind the Red Sox for the division lead, the Red Sox will have opportunities to narrow the race to just them and the Rays. The Red Sox will also see the Rays seven times between August 30th and September 8.

In such a long season, it is inevitable that a team drops a few games. For the Red Sox, the schedule is luckily in their favor for division play. The Sox will have their first test tonight, as they take on the Toronto Blue Jays in Buffalo.

One More Thing…

All though this article wasn’t necessarily about the Red Sox and Yankees most recent series in New York, I feel this has to be mentioned. The way the fans in Yankees stadium behaved throughout the course of this series was completely unacceptable. First with throwing a ball at Alex Verdugo, then delaying the game by shinning a light in the batter’s eye, then spitting on Jason Varitek’s daughter? Jason Varitek’s daughter is nine years old, and was spit on for wearing her father’s jersey, which is absolutely disgusting.

Heckling at opposing fans is one thing but to throw a baseball at player, and to spit on a nine year is another. These are criminal offenses happening at Yankee’s stadium. It feels like this kind of stuff happens too much at Yankee’s stadium to brush it under the rug. The events from this past series are just another reminder of ignorant their fan base can be.

There Will Be Baseball in 2020

Baseball fans rejoice, there will be baseball in 2020! After about three months of no baseball, the MLB and the MLBPA have reached an agreement to play in 2020. I know, I didn’t think this day would come, but here we are. Many players are making their way to their respective cities right now in anticipation of the season. July 1st is the official date to start training camp, and from there, we have Opening Day at the end of July. It’s been a crazy year so far, so let the games begin – On July 23rd.

The bad news for fans, however, is that they will not be in the stands at any of the Majorbaseball in 2020 League ballparks in 2020. Yes, that includes Fenway Park. For fans who were looking forward to seeing the Red Sox play at Fenway or at an away game, you’re going to have to either watch it on NESN, or listen to the radio. Due to COVID-19, MLB and other professional sports aren’t allowing spectators at games until further notice.

Baseball in 2020

It’s hard to believe that baseball in 2020 is going to happen, but it is. After what seemed to be a lifetime of negotiations, there will be a season. MLB announced this week that Opening Day will be on July 23rd, with training camps starting July 1st. To make things easy for teams, MLB is setting up the schedule geographically. For the Red Sox, they will be playing against both the American League East, and the National League East. The same will go for teams in the Central Divisions and in the Western Divisions.

MLB proposed this idea to limit team travel in hopes that the season will be completed without interruptions. Teams will start off with thirty players, then go down to 28 players after fifteen days. Two weeks later, teams will be set at their normal roster number, 26. Baseball in 2020 will not have an All Star game, sorry Los Angeles. However, the trade deadline will be on August 31st. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out, especially with teams playing within their own divisions, and a designated hitter in both the National and American Leagues.

How Will The Red Sox Do in 2020

That’s the big question many Red Sox fans are asking. After a crazy offseason, the Red Sox have a lot to prove to their fan base. There will be some new faces coming to town, like pitcher Martin Perez and outfielder Kevin Pillar. There will also be some familiar faces coming back to town, like Mitch Moreland, who resigned with the Red Sox this past offseason.

General Manager Chaim Bloom stated that both Alex Verdugo and Collin McHugh are expected to play this season. Verdugo, who was part of the Mookie Betts trade, is recovering from a stress fracture in his back. McHugh, who the Red Sox signed as a free agent in March, is recovering from a flexor tendon strain that he sustained in 2019.

As for Chris Sale, he will not be pitching this season. Shortly after the season was halted to to COVID-19, it was announced that Sale was getting Tommy John surgery, and will not be pitching again until at least 2021. Lucky for the Red Sox, they have some pitchers who are looking to make a name for themselves in Boston, and a few who are looking to improve upon their 2019 season.

Eduardo Rodriguez, who went 19-6 with a 3.81 ERA in 2019, is looking to improve in 2020. Manager Ron Roenicke has yet to name his Opening Day starter, but odds are that Rodriguez will get the call. Catchers Kevin Plawecki and Jonathan Lucroy, who came to Boston via free agency, will be competing for the backup role at catcher behind Christian Vazquez. Both veteran catchers signed one year deals with the Red Sox this past offseason.

Around The MLB

A lot has happened since Spring Training was stopped due to COVID-19. Many fans didn’t think that baseball in 2020 would happen. However, here we are. Fans are used to a 162 game season, however, due to negotiations, the fans, players, and MLB are at a 60 game season instead. A lot can happen in 60 games. For the Red Sox, they were 31-29 in their first 60 games in 2019. In order to get to the postseason this year, they’re going to have to do way better than that.

Both the American League East and the National League East will be a challenge for the Red Sox. Not only are they facing their usual rivals like the Yankees, but the’re facing the 2019 World Series Champion Washington Nationals. Going into the 2019 season, the Nationals were not the favorite to win the World Series. Their first 60 games had them at a record of 27-33. They finished with a 93-69 record, and were second in their division.

Each team, and each division is going to have their set of struggles and triumphs this season. Each team in each division is going to have their ups and downs. For some, it’s getting used to the universal designated hitter rule, while for others, it’s figuring out the best lineup to have for each game. While fans won’t have to worry about 10pm games, many will wonder how this season will affect the 2021 season and beyond. Only time can tell that. For now, we have baseball in 2020, which is pretty remarkable.

One Last Chance Against The Yankees

After losing two of three to the Minnesota Twins, the Red Sox have one last chance to do some damage against the Yankees. The Red Sox start their final series against them tonight at Fenway Park.

Right now, the Yankees are on track to win 100 games for the second year in a row. Theone last chance Red Sox are 16.5 games back in the AL East as of September 6th. They are looking to try and get the final Wild Card. Right now, they are 6.5 games back of the final spot, which is being held by the Oakland A’s. With the season winding down, one can only wonder what will become of the 2019 season.

A Classic September Red Sox vs Yankees Matchup

Game one begins tonight, as the Red Sox’s Jhoulys Chacin goes up against the Yankees’ Domingo German. This is Chacin’s first start in a Red Sox uniform. Prior to Boston, he was with the Milwaukee Brewers, before being designated for assignment on August 24th. The Red Sox picked him up on August 31st, and assigned him to AAA Pawtucket. His last start in the Majors was on July 24th against the Reds. He went 3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs off of 6 hits. Last time the Red Sox faced German was on August 3rd. German went 7 innings allowing 2 runs and getting the win in the game.

The Red Sox have yet to name a starter for the second game, but the Yankees will be sending JA Happ to the mound. Last time Happ faced Boston was on August 4th. He went 5.2 inings, and earned the win in the game. The Red Sox will have one last chance to try and beat Happ, as he has been dominate against the Red Sox this season.

Sunday night baseball will feature Rick Porcello and Masahiro Tanaka. Porcello, who is looking for win number 13 on the season, last pitched against the Yankees on July 25th. He earned the win in the game, going 6 innings and allowing 3 runs off of 6 hits. Tanaka also pitched against the Red Sox on July 25th, going 3.1 innings and giving up 12 runs. The game saw the Red Sox beat the Yankees 19-3. They are hoping to have that same success on Sunday night against Tanaka.

The final game of the series has Red Sox ace, Eduardo Rodriguez pitching against James Paxton. Rodriguez, who is going for win number 18, last pitched against the Yankees on August 2nd. The game resulted in his 5th loss of the season, going 6.2 innings and giving up 4 runs. James Paxton got the win in that game, going 6 innings, and giving up 2 runs.

A Tribute To CC Sabathia

Even though he is on the 10 day injury list, this will be the last time the Red Sox will see CC Sabathia in a Yankees uniform. The 39 year old announced his retirement prior to the 2019 season. Last time Sabathia pitched was on August 30th. He only lasted 3 innings in that game against the A’s at Yankee Stadium.

Bothered by knee injuries this season, Sabathia has had a rocky final season. He is 5-8 with a 4.93 ERA. In 100.1 innings, he has 96 strikeouts. All time, Sabathia is 251-161 in 558 games. He has a lifetime ERA of 3.73, and 3,570.1 innings pitched. Sabathia is also #17 on the All Time Strikeouts list with 3082.

The future Hall of Famer is a six-time All Star, and a World Series Champion. In his 19 year career, he has pitched for the Cleveland Indians (2001-2008), Milwaukee Brewers (2008) and the New York Yankees (2009-2019).

One Last Chance Against the AL East Teams Begins Now

Starting tonight, the Red Sox will face AL East teams for the final time in 2019. This will be their one last chance to try and gain from ground in the AL East.

After the series against the Yankees, they go to Toronto to take on the Blue Jays. The next AL East team comes in two weeks, when the Red Sox head to St. Petersburg to take on the second place Tampa Bay Rays. Right now, the Rays hold the top Wild Card spot in the American League ahead of the Oakland A’s. The final homestand for Boston comes against the Orioles at the very end of the season.

The final series of the 2019 season are with the Phillies, Giants, and Rangers. The Red Sox will be heading to Philadelphia for a 2 game weekend series. From there, they head to Fenway to host the San Francisco Giants and Carl Yastremski’s grandson, Mike, who now plays outfield for them. Finally, they head to Texas to face the Rangers at Globe Life Park. This is their final series at that stadium, as the Rangers will be opening a new one in 2020.

Historic Series for Boston As They Take Two in Cleveland

After dropping game one in Cleveland, the Red Sox had a surge that lasted two games. This surge was fueled by Chris Sale, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts. These three men had a historic series in Cleveland that propelled the Red Sox to victory. Sale became the fastest pitcher to get to 2,000 career strikeouts  on Tuesday night. He achieved the milestone after pitching in 1,626 innings. The last person to accomplish the feat was Hall of Famer, Pedro Martinez. Both pitchers also accomplished the feat while playing for Boston.

That’s not all. Rafael Devers, at the age of 22, went 6-6 in the game that led Boston to ahistoric series 7-6 victory over the Indians on Tuesday. Devers became the first player in MLB history to record 6 or more hits, including 4 doubles. The last player to go 6-6 was Christian Yelich last season. Wednesday turned to be pretty special as well. Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th and 101th career home runs on Wednesday afternoon, helping the Red Sox beat Cleveland 5-1.

Historic Series for the Red Sox

After losing the final two games to the Angels, the Red Sox headed to Cleveland to take on the Indians. Game one had Eduardo Rodriguez going up against Zach Plesac. Rodriguez, who has been a reliable force in the rotation for Boston, pitched 6 innings, allowing 5 runs on 10 hits. Plesac went 5 innings, allowing 3 runs off of 7 hits. However, the game ended with the Indians walking off with a 6-5 victory in the bottom of the 9th inning. Marcus Walden gave up the game winning home run with no outs to Carlos Santana.

The first part of the historic series began on Tuesday night. With Chris Sale on the mound looking like his old self, it was only a matter of time before strikeout #2,000 of his career occurred. Indians center fielder, Oscar Mercado, was Sale’s 2,000th strikeout. Mercado swung and missed at a slider to end the third inning, and allowed Sale to be the fastest pitcher to reach 2,000 strikeouts. The next historic moment came from Rafael Devers. The 22 year old hit 4 doubles, and went 6-6 in the game. His first hit, a double, came in the first inning, when he ripped a double to left field, allowing Mookie Betts to score. He also managed to raise his batting average to .325 following the game.

The final game of the historic series also had a great moment. In the top of the 3rd inning, Xander Bogaerts hit his 100th home run of his career off of Shane Bieber. In the 7th inning, Bogaerts wasted no time adding onto the 100 home runs, by hitting #101 off of Nick Goody. This allowed the Red Sox to win the game, 5-1.

Gearing Up for the Orioles

After a well deserved off day on Thursday, the Red Sox will be hosting the Orioles. Prior to their series in Boston, Baltimore was in New York playing against the AL East leading New York Yankees. Unfortunately for the Orioles, they were swept 4-0 against the Yankees, falling to a record of 39-82.

They’ll be sending Aaron Brooks to the mound to face Rick Porcello in the first game. Brooks last pitched against Boston on April 30th, where he went 4.1 innings, allowing 6 hits and 5 runs. Rick Porcello is looking for win #11 of the season after taking the loss against the Angels this past weekend.

Game two will feature Asher Wojciechowski and Eduardo Rodriguez. The final game of the series on Sunday afternoon doesn’t have starting pitchers named yet for either team. After this series, the next time the Orioles play the Red Sox is the final series of the regular season from September 17th to September 29th in Boston.

Harper and the Phillies Come to Town

After another long off season, Bryce Harper signed a mega 13-year, $330 million contract with the Philadelphia Phillies. This allowed him to stay in the National League East, after playing the first 7 years of his career with the Washington Nationals. This will be the first time the Red Sox will be playing against the new look Phillies, as they also added JT Realmuto and Andrew McCutchen to their roster in the offseason.

The Phillies are currently 62-58, and are in 3rd place in the NL East. Before they come to Boston on Tuesday, they will be hosting the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park in Philadephia. The Red Sox will be playing there from September 14th to September 15th.