The Boston Red Sox are in the midst of an exciting final push for the playoffs. So, who’s ready to look ahead to next season?
Major League Baseball released its 2017 regular season schedule Wednesday, and while there are plenty of important games left on the 2016 slate, it’s hard not to take a peek ahead and see what’s in store for the next year’s Red Sox.
With that, here are five takeaways and observations from the Red Sox’s 2017 schedule.
1. Interleague enjoyment
Boston kicks off its 2017 campaign on April 3 with a three-game home series against the Pittsburgh Pirates, the first time in six years it will begin the season at Fenway Park. The Red Sox close the month with a three-game set against the Chicago Cubs at Fenway Park in one of the most anticipated matchups of the season, and also will play a pair of two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals, whom they faced three years ago in the World Series. That’s a pretty fun interleague slate.
2. Infrequent flyers
The Red Sox have much easier travel schedule than their 2016 gauntlet. They’ll play just 10 games on the West Coast in two separate trips, compared to this year, where they played 19 games on the left coast that included a stretch of 11 consecutive road games against West Coast opponents from late July to early August. Boston’s three West Coast road opponents in 2017 — the Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels — aren’t exactly scary, either.
3. Home sweet home
Remember that brutal stretch of 31 road games in 43 days the Red Sox endured this August and September? That’s a thing of the past, as 15 of Boston’s 28 games next September are at home. The Red Sox finish the 2017 season with a seven-game homestand and also will play 15 home games in April, giving the club a great opportunity to both start and finish the season strong.
4. Tough July; tougher August?
The Red Sox will be road warriors in July, playing just 11 home games during the year’s hottest month and embarking on 10-game road trip before the All-Star break. August features more home games, but stiffer competition: The Red Sox will play 21 of their 27 games against teams with current records above .500, including the Cleveland Indians, Cardinals and Toronto Blue Jays,. The good news: Boston has four off-days during a two-week stretch in August.
5. Dividing up the division
Boston’s final 23 games this season all are against American League East opponents, but the Red Sox’s division games are a bit more spread out in 2017. They’ll play a slightly-more-reasonable 18 games against the AL East next September and 15 such games in August, but will take on the division just seven times each in the months of May and June.
Final verdict: Boston’s interleague matchups are tougher, and August won’t be easy, but overall, the schedule makers were much kinder to the Red Sox in 2017 than they were this year.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images