Posted 08/09/2011 at 02:21 PM
Boston won two out of three from the Yankees last weekend but it was an encouraging series for both teams who appear to be locks for playoff spots. Having the home field edge in a potential ALCS match-up will be no small prize however even if wild card success has been common in recent years. The Red Sox and Yankees will face six more times this season with three in Boston starting in late August and three in New York the final week of the season.
The remaining schedules for both teams are very similar the rest of the way with the same number of home games left on the schedule. New York has played one fewer road game at this point. New York has twelve remaining home games against winning teams and nine road games against winning teams. Boston will play 13 home games against winning teams and ten road games versus teams with winning records. Both teams will have a lot of games with the Rays remaining and while it is a long shot, Tampa Bay should not be completely counted out just yet as they will have the opportunity to directly pick up ground on both teams.
The Yankees match-up with the Angels six times and the Red Sox will face Texas seven times making the biggest difference on the schedule ahead. That edge might fall slightly with New York as the Yankees have a big offensive edge versus the Angels even if Los Angeles has a couple of excellent starting pitchers. Texas can match-up well with Boston for the most part, especially getting for games in Arlington. The Yankees do have to travel west for games in Los Angeles and Seattle while Boston’s series in Seattle this week will be the final western trip. Baltimore will also play a key role in deciding the division title as the Orioles will get several cracks at both squads and whoever is more dominant will likely pull ahead.
While home field advantage may not be a priority it likely will be a significant advantage to face the AL Central winner rather than the AL West winner. Not only will the West winner be a more dangerous team in terms of overall record on the year in most scenarios but the Rangers and Angels are scarier teams to face in a short series. The Angels can be dominant with Jered Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana forming a high end staff and the coast-to-coast travel will also be more taxing for Boston or New York. Texas is the defending AL champions and a very tough team to beat at home with an offense that can really produce.
While Detroit is on a nice run, the pitching staff is really quite weak outside of Justin Verlander and few players are playoff tested. The lineup is good for the AL Central but the Red Sox and Yankees have outpaced Detroit by almost a 100 runs this season. Cleveland or Chicago would not offer a serious threat either for whichever AL East team ends up as the wild card. Even though there won’t be serious drama in the AL East race as both teams will likely make the playoffs, there should be great incentive for both teams to try to get the top spot.