Terra’s Take: Next Two Weeks Will Decide Red Sox Season
Last year the Red Sox were the best team in the majors. They were tied for the best record, close to the top in the majors in batting average and runs scored, and capped off their improbable run with a World Series win. This year, it has been the complete opposite. While many fans felt that last year’s team overachieved, they know this year’s team can play better. As the trade deadline nears, one of the biggest questions surrounding the team is whether or not they will be buyers or sellers. Either way, the answer will likely come in the next week.
The Red Sox have won seven of their last eight and are fresh off of a three game sweep of the Kansas City Royals. They’ll need that momentum as Boston begins a seven game road trip beginning in Toronto, who have dropped nine of their last 14 games. This series begins a stretch where the only teams they will face for the next two weeks are from the AL East. To this point, the Sox are 18-22 vs the AL East which has them tied for last place in the division with Tampa Bay.
This year though the division isn’t the normal powerhouse it has been in previous years. While the 7.5 GB in the division and 6 GB for the second wild card spot are large hurdles to overcome, there is still enough time. Red Sox fans should remember the great collapse of 2011 when they blew the nine game wild card lead they had on September 3rd.
While looking at the Red Sox recent win/loss record is one thing, what’s really intriguing is how they’ve won some of these games. Two of the aspects that made last year’s team so likeable was their easy going personality and their ability to come from behind late. According to reports, the clubhouse became a much more enjoyable and friendlier place once the team cut the strong and sometime volatile personality of AJ Pierzynski. Since then, four of the last seven wins have come from either walk-off hits or go ahead home runs in their last three at bats. For whatever reason, the team just seem to be clicking now, outscoring their opponents 43-17 with two shutouts in the past eight games which is always important going into an important part of their season.
They begin tonight with three more games in Toronto, then go down to Tampa Bay for three games, before returning home for three more against Toronto and finishing the two week test with three against New York in Boston. By the time the Yankees come to town, the fate of the season will most likely already be known. Before the Yanks come to town, the Red Sox will have their only day off in the two weeks and it just so happens to be on July 31st, the trade deadline.
If the Red Sox can win, not even sweep, the next three series that would be 8-3 and they would go from fifth place to third, possibly second, which would make them buyers. Splitting or a losing record would end any choice and the Red Sox would likely look to sell pieces and go into full youth mode. No matter what happens, look for the Red Sox to be a much talked about team when it comes to the trade deadline as they have the pieces to either bring in talent or help another team make a postseason run.