The Boston Red Sox’s series in New York was a lot to take in.
Tuesday saw the Yankees snap the Red Sox’s 11-game win streak before the New York won again in walk-off fashion Wednesday. However, the Red Sox also clinched the American League East on Wednesday and lost again 5-1 on Thursday while the Yankees officially were eliminated from playoff contention.
It was weird, yes, but amid the chaos, the Red Sox were swept and now are losing ground in the race to the top of the AL.
With the Red Sox at 92-67 and the Texas Rangers at 94-65 after Thursday with three games left for both teams to play, Boston can all but kiss that No. 1 seed goodbye. But there’d one question to come out of that conclusion: Does earning the top spot really matter for the Red Sox?
As it stands right now, the Red Sox would have home-field advantage in the AL Division Series against the 91-67 Cleveland Indians, who also have three games left and possibly a fourth after their game against the Detroit Tigers on Thursday was rained out. And that might actually be their ideal situation.
Being No. 1 would mean the Red Sox play the winner of the AL wild-card game, and as of Thursday, that would be the Baltimore Orioles or Toronto Blue Jays. In a division matchup, home-field advantage might not even matter since those teams face each other so often. The Red Sox also have fared well against the Indians this year, winning their season series 5-2.
The Red Sox aren’t going to give up the quest for first place in the AL, and no one is saying they should. But if it doesn’t happen — and it’s likely that it won’t — the alternative isn’t a disaster. It would avoid a possible five-game series against a division rival, and if they win their ALDS, they’d still have a chance at home-field advantage in the AL Championship Series if the Rangers lose.
So, as long as the Red Sox can hold on to second place, it looks as though it could be a win-win either way.
Here are some more notes from Thursday’s loss.
— Another factor working for the Red Sox in the postseason is their road record. Even after being swept in the Bronx, Boston is 46-35 in away games this season, which is the club’s best record away from Fenway Park since 2002, per the Providence Journal’s Tim Britton.
— While some fans and commentators thought the Yankees’ understated pregame ceremony for the retiring David Ortiz wasn’t enough, the Red Sox actually were in awe of the book of letters the designated hitter received from Yankees past an present. And if you look at some of the entries The Boston Globe’s Pete Abraham posted, you can see why.
— It’ll be all about Big Papi for the Red Sox’s final regular season series at Fenway Park this weekend against the Blue Jays.
— Yoan Moncada’s time with the Red Sox this season officially is over. The team announced Thursday, via ESPN’s Scott Lauber, that Moncada left for Fort Myers, Fla., to prepare for the Arizona Fall League. The 21-year-old third baseman went 4-for-19 with a double, an RBI and 12 strikeouts in eight games with Boston.
— The Red Sox in an announcement Thursday urged fans to arrive early and take public transportation to the club’s three games against the Blue Jays. The team expects heavy traffic around Fenway Park all weekend and said fans should be in their seats by 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday to enjoy the pregame ceremonies for Ortiz. The Red Sox suggest fans arrive by 1 p.m. and get themselves situated by 2 p.m. for Sunday’s contest.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images