Monday, September 14

A Look at the Schedule

The time has come again to take a look at the calendar, ITM's favorite offday (sort of, with Foxboro filling in) activity. Three weeks of regular season to go. Approximately 20 games. For the first time, we're talking very finite, digestible numbers. Even slight variations in schedule can have a big, big impact this time of year.

The Sox have two gnarly looking series in front of them in the coming week or so. First, as we know well, the Sox have the Angels at home for a 3 game set. The Sox will also have to go to New York to play the Yankees for 3 starting on September 25th. Outside of those series, however, the Sox will not play a team with a winning percentage over .451 (Toronto; next best being Cleveland, at .431).

The Rangers, on the other hand, have a tougher road ahead, at least on paper. Texas will play host to the LA Angels later in the week. That won't be it, though, between the Rangers and the second-best team in baseball. The Rangers have to go to LA on September 28th for a 4 game set. That's part of a brutal West Coast swing that finishes out the season. Before the LA series, the Rangers will be in Oakland. They'll then travel halfway across the country to face the Rays in Arlington, only to return right away for that Angels series. There are no travel days allotted. The games are back-to-back. After leaving LA, the Rangers then trek up the coast to Seattle to face a surging Mariners squad to close the season.

Now we all know that calendar prognosticating is about as reliable as tea leaves. The Sox could very easily stumble on the road - they have seven games of travel immediately before playing the Yankees in New York. And the fact that those seven games are against Kansas City and Baltimore doesn't necessarily mean anything. September plays funny tricks. Pitching gives out. New kids come up to teams like the Orioles and the Royals with something to prove.

But you can't help feeling that the schedule edge goes to the Red Sox at this point. And just in case you were too caught up in the Pats comeback to notice - the Rangers just got creamed by Oakland, losing 9-0. That's 4.5 games back in the Wild Card. The Sox have got to take advantage of whatever they're offered.

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