Red Sox: Breaking down Boston’s 2020 schedule and playoff chances
The Red Sox get their schedule for 2020
As we come to the end of the first week of training camp for the 2020 season, MLB released the condensed 60-game schedule for this year. This campaign won’t resemble anything that the Red Sox have seen before. Not only will they be running into their usual AL East foes, but now they have to contend with the NL East as well.
In an attempt to limit travel and possible exposure to COVID, the league has been restructured into three divisions based on geography. One of the biggest positives for Red Sox Nation will be no late West Coast match-ups. Now, I’m sure there are plenty of you out there that love some Pacific timezone action, but I work early and 10 pm games are a nightmare. I know that makes me sound like I should be in a retirement home, but I can’t lie.
So, there are some definite pros and cons in regards to competing solely in the Eastern division. Obviously, the Red Sox will have to run into buzzsaw teams like the Yankees, Rays, Braves, and Nationals. Then there are the teams that could cause some headaches in the Blue Jays, Mets, and Phillies. But then we have the pushover clubs that should help pad the record in the Marlins and Orioles.
It’s no secret that the Red Sox are going to be a far weaker squad in 2020 after the departures of David Price, Mookie Betts, and Rick Porcello. Add in the injury to Chris Sale and things don’t feel positive around Fenway Park, though the team would never show that. I was hoping Boston would get a bit lucky with the schedule but then I saw the final product and the dread set in. This has a serious chance of being a miserable year.
Breaking down the 2020 Red Sox schedule and their chances
As I mentioned above, this is a new-look division for the Red Sox but luckily they’ll be staying entirely on the East Coast. The MLB Network gave a neat insight into the schedules by displaying them in series form with the number of games per series. By giving the schedule this way it gives fans a stronger idea of just what the season could look like.
The Red Sox start 2020 at Fenway Park against the Orioles, giving the team a strong chance at starting 3-0. With only 60 games in the season, that’s one hell of a way to kick things off and could give Boston some breathing room. The Sox then have a four-game home-and-home split with the Mets that ends with them in New York.
July 31st is probably the first major date that Red Sox Nation will be circling on the calendar as that’s the first meeting with the Yankees. “The Rivalry,” will continue into 2020 with a three-game set at Yankee Stadium, something that is a bit of a theme for Boston this year. They’ll play the Yankees 10 times this season with seven of those meetings coming in the Bronx.
In my opinion, that’s pretty damn ridiculous. Yeah, there won’t be any fans but it’s still time spent traveling and away from the players’ homes. This theme returns a second time as their 10-game split with the Rays is tilted towards Tampa Bay, 6-4. I can’t complain too much though as Boston gets the favorable schedule against the Jays (7-3), and Orioles (6-4).
If I was able to change anything, I’d find a way to level out the series a bit more or have one favorable, one not so favorable, series against the Yanks and Rays. This would allow one of the weaker teams to have a few extra games at home and vice versa for Boston against one of the better teams. I know it sounds biased, but we’re all Red Sox fans here so I know I’m not the only one that’s thinking this way.
The Red Sox will spend 2/3 of the season within the AL East with the final 20 games breaking down as such: Braves: 6, Mets: 4, Phillies: 4, Nationals: 3, and Marlins: 3. The clashes with the NL East are an even split at 10 home and 10 away. A bit more favorable for Boston when it comes to travel. They do, however, have to run into the Braves and Yankees in six of the last nine games of 2020, not fun.
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So, let’s take a look at what the Red Sox can realistically do in 2020. I’m not going to sugarcoat things for you, it won’t be pretty and it won’t be easy, but it’s doable. When looking at the schedule I have Boston finishing with a 32-28 record. It doesn’t look pretty but it may be enough to get them into the Wild Card race.
In my eyes, the Red Sox will go 20-20 in the AL East. They’ll struggle hard against Tampa and New York, going 3-7 in each series, while capitalizing against Toronto (6-4) and Baltimore (8-2). They’ll then have a 12-8 tally against the NL East, splitting against the Braves (3-3) and Phillies (2-2), while beating the Mets (3-1) and Miami (3-0). Even with the loss of Anthony Rendon, I have Boston dropping the season series to the Nats, 1-2.
You may think I’m crazy how I broke down the season but I tried to take a step back and analyze the schedule the best I could. We all know that this game is beyond unpredictable and all it’ll take is one injury or a bad weekend to fully derail a team this season. In my heart, I’d love to see the Red Sox make it to the postseason, but I just can’t see it happening with the murderer’s row of a schedule that sits before them.