Red Sox: Is this the most important homestand of the year?
By Daniel Riggs
The Red Sox upcoming homestand will be entertaining, but it may also prove to be a turning point of the 2017 season.
The Boston Red Sox received some extra rest due to a rain-out on Tuesday leading up to what should be one of the most entertaining—and possibly most important—homestands of the year. The Red Sox will host the New York Yankees first, then the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs will arrive in Beantown for a weekend series.
At this point in time, there is only one team in Major League Baseball who could serve as a climactic third series opponent in this homestand: the Baltimore Orioles. Tempers flared on both sides this past weekend when Matt Barnes threw a high fastball at Manny Machado in retaliation to his high, spikes-up slide that injured Dustin Pedroia on Friday night. Now the O’s will have their first shot at retaliation.
The Red Sox and Yankees will renew their rivalry for the first time in 2017 this week. While the rivalry has calmed down lately, the Red Sox come into the matchup after a tense series in Baltimore. Could this potentially equate to some fireworks between the Sox and Yanks? Don’t rule it out.
On Friday, when the Cubs roll into Boston, they will do so as world champions for the first time in 107 years. The Cubs, of course, broke the longest title drought in baseball last Fall. Fans have been looking forward to the home-and-home interleague series between the Cubs and Sox since the 2017 schedule was announced. According to StubHub!, average ticket prices for the Cubs series are higher than the average ticket price for the Yankees series. That’s unusual.
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Don’t expect any high drama between the Cubs and Red Sox. Former Red Sox ace Jon Lester won’t be pitching in this series, but John Lackey will. Lackey should get a nice ovation from the Fenway Faithful for his tremendous efforts in the 2013 championship run. Chicago’s President of Baseball Operations and curse-reversal extraordinaire, Theo Epstein, will make the trip back to Boston as well. Epstein is even hosting his “Hot Stove Cool Music” charity event with Eddie Vedder in town on Saturday night.
It is ostentatious to declare a late-April homestand the most important of the year; however, the Red Sox will take on the red hot Yankees, world champion Cubs, and division-leading Orioles. Boston plays three contenders in a row, which could tell us a lot about how the rest of 2017 will play out for the Sox.
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Even if you were to take away the Red Sox and Yankees’ history with one another and the Pedroia-Machado drama, this series is sure to provide plenty of baseball entertainment. With the intrigue surrounding storylines over the next week and a half, fans will have all eyes on Fenway Park during this homestand.