Red Sox clinch American League East division title

BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 03: Manager John Farrell
BALTIMORE, MD - JUNE 03: Manager John Farrell /

The Boston Red Sox have clinched the AL East division title with a win Saturday over the Houston Astros, who they will meet in the ALDS.

It dragged out a bit longer than we would have hoped but they finally did it. The Boston Red Sox have won the American League East division title!

Boston began their last homestand of the regular season by dropping two out of three to the last place Toronto Blue Jays before losing the first two of a four-game series with the Houston Astros. The Magic Number seemed to be stuck at one for an eternity, yet the countdown finally came to an end with a win Saturday afternoon.

Boston adds its ninth AL East title since the division structure began in 1969. Four of those division titles have come since 2007. The Red Sox entered the season as the reigning AL East champions, making this the first time in franchise history that Boston has won consecutive division titles.

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John Farrell set a new franchise record with his third division title as manager (2013, 2016, 2017). Red Sox fans may continue to pick apart Farrell’s flaws but there is no denying that he is one of the most successful managers in franchise history.

Drew Pomeranz earned his 17th win of the year by delivering six innings of one-run ball. How he will hold up into the postseason was a question lingering over this franchise after Pomeranz was shelled in his last start against Toronto and his velocity dipped throughout the month of September. Those concerns were put to rest with an encouraging start on Saturday. His velocity wasn’t all the way back but he hovered around 92 mph with his fastball and showed great control.

Wrapping up the division on Saturday allows the Red Sox to relax heading into the regular season finale. They can avoid the nightmare scenario of being forced to run Chris Sale back out to the mound for another regular season start with the division on the line. Now their ace can be well rested in time for Game 1 of the ALDS.

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The Houston loss locks them into a meeting with Boston in the American League Division series. The Cleveland Indians currently hold a two game lead in the loss column entering their game against the Chicago White Sox Saturday night. Since they own the head-to-head tie breaker over Houston, the Indians have now clinched home-field advantage and the luxury of facing the winner of the Wild Card playoff game.

The Red Sox are now in a scenario where they may see this Astros team for nine straight games, if their ALDS series goes the full five. At least they won’t need to waste too much time scouting one another. They should be sufficiently familiar with one another by this point.

Clinching the division title takes on an entirely different feel from a year ago, when Boston won the division the same night they lost to the New York Yankees on a walk-off grand slam by Mark Teixeira. The celebration in the visitors clubhouse was a surreal moment in which fans and players alike felt hesitant to feel excited despite that Toronto’s loss earlier that night had already clinched the division for the Red Sox.

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Boston won’t be backing into a title this year. This time they clinch with an emphatic victory on their home field. The Red Sox can pop the champagne to celebrate successfully defending their division title but there’s still work to do. The postseason begins next week.