The Red Sox enter the day with a record of 77-61, which trails the other two division leaders in the American League.
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The current standings would pit Boston against the Cleveland Indians (81-56) in the ALDS. We all recall how well that worked out for the Red Sox last year when home-field advantage wasn’t on their side. The Tribe’s record has surprisingly been better on the road this year, although I wouldn’t take that as a sign the Red Sox are better off beginning a series with them in Cleveland.
A 4.5 game deficit is hardly insurmountable, so there’s still time for Boston to claim home-field advantage in the first round. However, given Chris Sale’s well-documented struggles against the Indians, the Red Sox may be more inclined to go through Houston. Cleveland trails the Astros by only three games, making it more likely the Indians claim the top seed than Boston passing them for second place.
Catching Houston (84-53) seems like a long shot for Boston. The one hope they do have of clinching home-field until the World Series is that the Astros have to finish the regular season with a trip to Fenway. If the Red Sox are within striking distance by that point, expect a playoff atmosphere for that four-game series.
On the other hand, if the Astros have already clinched home-field by that point, we can expect that they will rest some players in the final series of the season. That would make it easier for the Red Sox to pad their win total in an attempt to overtake Cleveland for the second seed.