The Boston Red Sox are rapidly approaching this final month of the regular season. At 76-55, they have played themselves into contention for the AL East title, and more importantly, built a team that will be equipped to make a run in the postseason. Let’s take a look at what September brings for Boston.
The schedule eases up a bit
After a straining west coast road trip where the travel affects players more than people acknowledge, the Red Sox will open up the month by sleeping in their own beds. Unfortunately, the team in town will be one of the Major’s best in Detroit, but I encourage the idea of beating the best to be the best.
Where the schedule eases up is in the four off days the Red Sox have in September. They had only two in August, so a few more breaks will give them a chance to regroup a bit and get their best starters on the mound more often.
19 of their 25 games will be played against AL East opponents, but only three are against the Rays. What I think will benefit them most is a 9-game home stand from the 13th-22nd. The Sox are 40-23 at home so it gives them a chance to either separate themselves from the rest of the pack, or get back into the race, depending on how the standings look. Plus, anytime there’s even a remote chance of a playoff-clinching game inside Fenway Park, you have my attention.
Xander Bogaerts in the mix
Since Bogaerts’ call up, fans have seen very little of him. Manager John Farrell seems content with giving Stephen Drew and Will Middlebrooks the majority of the work on the left side of the infield, and I don’t blame him. But if Bogaerts’ is as good as everybody says he is, I imagine he’ll be in the lineup a lot more in September. He collected his first hit yesterday afternoon in a pinch-hit situation, and grabbed an RBI double in Sunday’s showdown on ESPN.
I know everybody wants to see him slam homers and hit .500, but be patient with the kid folks, he’s only 20, and when people have him that high on their prospect rankings, it’s for good reason. MLB scouts are usually pretty solid when predicting players to be sure things, and every single thing I’ve ever read has said that Bogaerts’ bat is phenomenal. Most thought he would get the call when rosters expand, but he’s here now, so prepare yourselves for the next big thing.
Getting Clay Buchholz back
The Sox have been waiting, and waiting, and dare I say, waiting, for Clay Buchholz to return healthy. There was no rush to get him back once the severity of his discomfort was discovered, and everything has been handled extremely cautiously for his situation. He threw his first rehab start today in Single-A ball for the Lowell Spinners where he threw 38 pitches and looked rusty in his first live action since June, according to Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com.
Of course he looked rusty, that shouldn’t shock anybody, it’s just good to see him getting closer to being back on the mound. I will admit, however, that I have nightmares in which Buchholz returns and doesn’t resort back to his ace-like status. Not sure what they would do if that were the case, but that’s probably just my pessimism taking over.
Previously: Lackey’s lacking run support.