The Red Sox finally reached their pre-season-appointed place at the top of the American League East. And taking a quick look at their upcoming schedule, they may stay there for a while. They are still not a perfect team. Despite some recent timely hits from Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jason Varitek, the position remains a weakness. And despite good performances from Tim Wakefield and Alfredo Aceves, those two-fifths of their current starting rotation remain questionable. But again, their schedule for the next month and a half should hide their flaws and keep their considerable strengths humming right along.
After finishing up the Tigers this weekend, the Red Sox host the White Sox. The White Sox have been floundering around and have as many holes in their line up as Swiss cheese. After that three-game series, the team from Boston hosts the Oakland Athletics. While the A's have good pitching and could bottle up the terrific Boston offense, the A's have little or no offense and have scored the fewest runs in the American League.
That series leads to a day off on Thursday and then a tough road trip against the Yankees, Blue Jays and Bay Rays. There is no reason they can't win half of those games. Following that swing, they go back into interleague play and play six games at home against the Brewers and Pirates. Since those games are at home, they can use David Ortiz as their DH, giving them a decided edge over both of those teams.
They then take their interleague show on the road with a tough series against the Phillies which means Ortiz will be on the bench. But they follow that series with a road series against the Astros, a team they should handle easily. And then, after that, they will again return home for seven games against the Orioles and Blue Jays, two teams they should handle rather easily.
That schedule seems pretty soft except for the three series against the Bay Rays, Yankees and Phillies. With Carl Crawford now contributing, the unexpected return to form by Josh Beckett and the two killer young pitchers at the top of the rotation, the Red Sox are in good shape. Their bullpen can be dominant at times and vulnerable at times, but even so, they should win 65 to 70 percent of their games in the next month and a half.
The Red Sox already boast the third best run differential in the American League (behind the Indians and Yankees) but considering where they were earlier in the season, they easily have the best differential in May. Their line up is now set, they are getting good contributions from every position, have the depth they need in the infield and the outfield and it would be a major surprise if they ever lose hold of first place again.
This writer was never concerned with their early start. They simply had too much talent not to finally get where they wanted to go. That doesn't mean this Fan is real happy with that conclusion. It just is what it is. The Red Sox are going to win the American League East.