A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about the Sox playing a 16 game stretch against below average opponents, and how it was a great opportunity for them to pad the win column. They went 9-7, which is good enough to win the AFC West, but it fell below my expectations.
The Sox failed to take advantage of weaker opposition. And now they're playing the good teams. They've already lost 3 of 4 to the Yankees.
They're playing the Rays this weekend. Tampa Bay is 2 games ahead of the Sox in the AL East (and Wild Card race). The Sox are 5-4 against the Rays this season.
Then Kevin Youkilis and the surging White Sox come to town for 4 games. They've won 9 of their last 12 and are in 1st place in the Central. They're good on the road, too, with a 23-16 record away from home. The Red Sox beat the White Sox 3 times in a 4 game series in Chicago. But that was back in April. These White Sox are different.
Toronto comes to town for three games. The Blue Jays and Red Sox have the same record. The Sox are 5-4 against the Jays and have won 4 of their last 6 meetings.
Then it's three games in Arlington, Texas. In July. Against the AL West leading Rangers. Cue the weather excuse. The 52-34 Rangers have the 2nd best record in baseball, best run differential in the Majors, and the best home record in the AL.
The Sox then play a weekend series in New York. The Yankees have taken 5 of 6 from the Red Sox this season.
Then it's 3 games against the Wild Card contending Detroit Tigers. The Sox were swept by Detroit in April. Then won 3 of 4 against them in May. The Tigers were hot entering the All-Star Break, but by the time this series is played (end of July), that will likely change.
So the next 19 games for the Sox play will be against opponents who are .500 or better. 10 games will be against division leaders.
The weighted average record of these opponents is 47-38, or .552.
The Sox squandered an opportunity against below .500 teams to accumulate wins. So now they must win against teams that are above .500. The Yankees and Rangers are both above .600.
It's possible for the Sox to survive this stretch, even do well. They've been good against Tampa Bay, Toronto, and Detroit. And if the lineup gets hot, they can go on a run against anyone.
But they must at least tread water. Because of their failure to beat the Athletics and Mariners, now they have to do well against the White Sox, Yankees, and Rangers. They've put themselves in a tough spot.