Red Sox have a great chance to extend their AL East lead this week

The Red Sox and Yankees will likely be battling for the AL East all season long, but Boston can put some distance between the two teams.

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The Boston Red Sox hold a two game lead over the New York Yankees in the American League East with a 20-7 record. That lead has dwindled as Boston has a 5-5 record in their last ten games. New York meanwhile is on a 9-1 tear, making the early race in the division a fun one to watch.

The 18-9 Yankees seem to have figured things out, but this week provides an opportunity for the Red Sox to extend their division lead before the two teams meet for another series. Here’s the schedule for the week for both teams:

  • Monday: Royals v. Red Sox; Yankees v. Astros
  • Tuesday: Royals v. Red Sox; Yankees v. Astros
  • Wednesday: Royals v. Red Sox; Yankees v. Astros
  • Thursday: Red Sox v. Rangers; Yankees v. Astros
  • Friday: Red Sox v. Rangers; Indians v. Yankees
  • Saturday: Red Sox v. Rangers; Indians v. Yankees
  • Sunday: Red Sox v. Rangers; Indians v. Yankees

Boston has a clear advantage this week as they host the Kansas City Royals before heading to Arlington to face the Texas Rangers. The Royals are just 7-20 on the season, while the Rangers are slightly better at 11-18.

New York has a much tougher road ahead against the 19-10 Houston Astros and 14-12 Cleveland Indians. The four game series with Houston can go a long way towards derailing the winning train the Yankees are on.

For the Red Sox, figuring out the offensive woes will be the main focus. At their peak Boston scored 113 runs in just 15 games, an average of 7.53 per game. In their 9 games since April 19th, the Red Sox have averaged just 3.22 runs per game. This includes an A’s no-hitter from Sean Manaea and a 1-run performance the next day in Oakland. Boston did manage to get 6 runs on the board on Sunday, and perhaps that’s a sign of things to come, but the offense will need to be better.

Kansas City ranks 28th in team ERA at 5.18, while the Rangers come in at 23rd with a 4.69 mark. Boston’s team ERA for comparison is 3.24, the 4th best in Major League Baseball. Clearly the Red Sox will have a chance to see the offense come alive this week against sub par pitching. The wins could come in blowout fashion too, as the Royals have just a .366 team slugging percentage, with the Rangers at .382. The Yankees and Red Sox lead the league in slugging percentage at .466 and .445 respectively. New York, though, has a much tougher week ahead.

Houston has the best team ERA in the majors at just 2.59 while Cleveland is 7th at 3.53. Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge will surely see those strikeout numbers rise once again.

Both teams will have an off day next Monday before they start a three-game series in the Bronx. If everything stays the course, the Yankees will avoid Chris Sale in that series, but they would have to face both David Price (2-3, 3.78) and Rick Porcello (4-0, 2.23). That Porcello game could be especially tough for the Yankees, as he was the last pitcher in the league to allow a home run this season. That’s a strong 180-degree turnaround from last season.

By the time Tuesday rolls around, the Red Sox could have a 5 to 7 game AL East lead. That’s plenty comfortable heading into a series with the Yankees, and the confidence from that could be just what they need to again take 2 out of 3 from New York.