The first 58% of the season has been absolutely astonishing for Red Sox fans. The team is on pace for its best record ever, but what does that mean?
This isn’t a small sample. We’re 94 games through the season and the Boston Red Sox are on pace for 112 wins. That would be on better than the 1954 Cleveland Indians. And two fewer than the 1998 Yankees. While this team is almost assuredly going to fall off of that pace, the possibility of a 100 win season is very real. It would be just the fourth time in team history that they would finish a season with triple digit wins. The previous three were in 1912, 1915, and 1946.
All three of those seasons saw the Red Sox reach the World Series. Two of them finished with the Red Sox hoisting a championship banner. With 68 games left to play, they could go a mere .500 and still win 99. That would tie them for the fourth most wins in franchise history with the 1978 squad. And it would put them one game ahead of the 2004 team that won the first Red Sox title in 86 years. In short, this team is very, very good.
A division race for the ages.
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And if that wasn’t enough, the bitter rivals to the south are nipping at their heels. The New York Yankees are 60-31, a 107 win pace. While the Red Sox are likely to add a little more help at the deadline, the chances of a major addition are slim. The Yankees, however, are tied to Manny Machado who would make it much more likely that the team doesn’t fall off their pace. This would put an enormous amount of pressure on the Red Sox to not slip. Rumors that Machado won’t move to third after a trade have put a bit of a damper on trade speculation, but then this happened.
Since the dawning of the Wild Card era, winning the division has lost a bit of its importance. But changes made in 2012 have reintroduced a good deal of that importance. Teams finishing with the two best records in each league without winning their division now face off in a one game play-in game. For an historically good Red Sox team to be subjected to a one and done playoff appearance would be absolutely tragic. And, while the better team wins a five or seven game series more often than not, anything can happen in one game. So both teams will be putting the pedal to the metal down the stretch, trying to edge out the other for 2018 division crown.
This could be one of the most exciting A.L. East division finishes in memory. So strap in, grab some popcorn (or peanuts and crackerjacks), and get ready. Maybe pick up some heartburn medication, too. The two teams finish the season against one another and the implications for that series could be as big as the regular season gets. Are you excited yet? Let us know in the comments!