Red Sox Face a Tougher Schedule Going Forward

July 16, 2018

If the 2018 major league baseball season ended at the all-star break, the Red Sox record against the nine other teams to make post-season play would be merely 10 wins and 10 loss, warranting a win-some-lose-some grade of C. To be sure, the Red Sox at 68-30 have a better overall record than the other nine teams, who at this juncture are the New York Yankees (62-33), Houston Astros (64-35), Seattle Mariners (58-39), Cleveland Indians (52-43), Chicago Cubs (55-38), Milwaukee Brewers (55-43), L.A. Dodgers (53-43), Philadelphia Phillies (53-42) and Atlanta Braves (52-42). In contrast to a record of 10-10 against these teams, the Sox have gone 58-20 in games against teams that would not be making the playoffs this year.

Two things stand out from this contrast. One is the phenomenal success of the Sox in games with average or below-average opponents, especially compared to their record against teams that have done well enough to also earn a place in the playoffs if the season were now ending. But an even more significant finding is that the Red Sox have played fewer games against the better teams — just 20 so far — than the number of remaining games against these better opponents, which is 27.

Here is a breakdown of games between the Sox witheach of these other nine teams. They will not face the Dodgers, Cubs, or Milwaukee in the 2018 regular season. They face the Yankees, against whom they are 4-5 so far, ten more times. The Yankees, although in the same division as Boston, have the second best winning percentage in the major leagues this year. Having split four games against the Astros, last year’s champion, the Sox have three more games with that team, which currently has the second largest number wins this year in either the American or National League. Boston will be playing Cleveland seven times over the rest of this season. They have yet to meet this American League central division leader. Last year from August 24 through September 22, Cleveland won 22 straight games, setting an all-time record for consecutive victories by any team. The Bosox also have a combined 7 remaining inter-league games against the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies, neither whom have they played yet this year.

The Red Sox have played three-fifths of their 2018 regular season schedule (98 games) and have 64 games remaining. Games against the aforementioned better teams represented 20% of their schedule thus far but will comprise 42% of their remaining contests. Having a tougher schedule and the failure of the Sox to do anywhere as well against other elite squads as they perform against the rest of the league creates some doubt that the 2018 Red Sox will indeed go down in baseball lore as one of the truly great teams. Time will tell…

Copyright 2018, Larry Greenberg. All rights reserved. No secondary distribution without express permission.

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