Red Sox: Reviewing the highlights of the 2018 schedule

BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 20: Sonny Gray
BOSTON, MA - AUGUST 20: Sonny Gray /

Major League Baseball has released the 2018 schedule for our Boston Red Sox, as well as the other teams throughout the league.

For our beloved Boston Red Sox, today’s news tells us precisely where and when the defending 2017 World Series Champions will be opening the season and what the road to back-to-back titles looks like.

Opening Day for the 2018 iteration of the Crimson Hose sees the team open up the new year with a four-game set in Tampa Bay starting on Thursday, March 29. Of note here – March 29 will mark the first time since 1968 that all 30 teams will begin the season on the same day, while also being the earliest date a Major League season has ever kicked off.

Following the four-game set with the Rays, the Sox then travel to Miami for a quick two-game series before heading home for the first time in 2018 to take on the Rays in their home opener on April 5.

As far as their holiday games go for next year, the Red Sox will play their annual Patriots Day game on April 16 against Baltimore, Memorial Day at Fenway against the Blue Jays on May 28, will travel to our nation’s capital for some Interleague play with the Nationals on July 4, and will see their summer end on September 3 in Atlanta on Labor Day.

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The Interleague schedule for the Red Sox next season looks to be less demanding both in terms of travel and competition with their IL matchups coming against NL East competition. Of these matchups, they’ll take on Washington and New York for three each, Miami and Philadelphia both for four games over the course of two home/home series, and then finally Atlanta – who they’ll see the most- on six occasions.

The wackiest aspect of the 2018 schedule by far looks to be a 10-game road trip over the course of 11 days from June 11-21 that will see the Red Sox travel from Baltimore-Seattle-Minnesota. However, after this road trip, the farthest the Red Sox will have to travel West again will simply be Kansas City at the beginning of July as they’ll knock out a West Coast swing to Oakland and LA early on in April.

To close their season out, the Red Sox and Yankees will face off for a three-game set at Fenway from September 28-30. With as close as these two teams have been this year, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see that final season next year have massive implications. It seems as if MLB is trying to make up for robbing us of high-intensity Red Sox/Yankees games down the stretch this season with the two teams playing six times in their final 12 games of 2018.

Outside of a  six-game road trip to New York and Cleveland from September 18-23, the Sox will play 15 of their final 21 games at home next year. As long as next years team can meet expectations and remain healthy, I would suspect these 15 games to be a crucial point in the race for the AL East, and perhaps – god willing, and contingent on this years team finishing the job – we will be talking about this franchise closing in on their fourth AL East title in six tries by this time next year.

Next: Red Sox face rocky playoff road with Cleveland Indians or Houston Astros

Regardless of how 2017 shapes up for the Sox, the good news is that hope will spring eternal once more come March of 2018 when either Eduardo Nunez, Dustin Pedroia or Mookie Betts steps into the box to face Chris Archer at the Trop. Hopefully, once that time comes this team will be ready and geared up for another title run.