|Connelly’s Top Ten: USA Women, Red Sox Bore Astros into Submission||Preparing for Another Year of Rebuilding for the Celtics||Red Sox Bullpen Sleeper: Matt Barnes||The Case For Trading Clay Buchholz|
The 2011 Red Sox Schedule is out, and there are some interesting things to note. First, the schedule starts at the beginning of April, with many teams starting in March. The schedule also ends in September, in an effort to avoid November baseball. Boston’s longest home-stand is 4/29-5/9 (11 games, against the Mariners, Angels, and Twins [who will play on Mother’s Day]), and their shortest is 8/16-8/17 (two games, against the Rays). Their longest road trip is just nine games (done three times, 4/19-4/28 against the Athletics, Angels, and Orioles, 6/7-6/16 against the Yankees, Blue Jays, and Rays, and 6/24-7/3 against the Pirates, Phillies, and Astros), and their shortest road trip is 7/29-7-31 (three games, against the White Sox). There’s a lot to be excited about, so without further ado, here’s some highlights for the 2011 Boston Red Sox:
Once more, Boston’s home opener (though seventh game overall this time) is against the Yanks, for three games 4/8-4/10. The teams meet in New York 5/13-5/15 and 6/7-6/9, then return to Fenway 8/5-8/7 and 8/30-9/1, and finish in New York 9/23-9/25. It’s a good dating for these games, and will give Boston a chance to hold off the Yankees during all points of the year. With pitching lapses on both sides of the rivary this year, and with these two seemingy the only teams able to afford Cliff Lee, it’ll be very fun to watch where the biggest free agent this season will sign: Boston or New York.
It remains to be seen where prodigal son Manny Ramirez will sign next season, but the White Sox come to Fenway 5/30-6/1, and host Boston 7/29-7/31. Keep an eye on Ramirez to see where he ends up.
Surprisingly, the longest trip this season is only six games, 4/19-4/24 against the Athletics and Angels, without a starting off day beforehand. Next up, three games in Seattle 8/12-8/14, nearly four months in the future. That’s it. Boston is also in Texas to begin the season 4/1-4/3, and from 8/22-8/25.
From 5/20-5/22, the Cubs will be at Fenway for three games. It’s the first time the Cubs have been to Fenway since the 1918 World Series, and we all know how that ended.
From 6/17-6/22, the Red Sox host (in chronological order) the Brewers and Padres, and Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez along with them. Although the Sox and Brewers are well-acquainted from the Brewers’ time in the American League, the Padres will be looking to improve on 2010 by taking advantage of a team that was very interested in acquiring their slugger.
From 6/24-7/23, the Red Sox visit Pittsburgh, then Philadelphia, then Houston. If the Red Sox have a shred of talent, Pittsburgh will be swept. Philly will be much more difficult, especially if Roy Oswalt isn’t traded away to avoid his salary. Without Oswalt, the Astros should be easy pickings.
From 9/5 util the end of the season, Boston’s schedule consists of nothing but divisional games, 22 games in all. 12 of them are against the Blue Jays and Orioles, including the last three in Camden Yards. However the first five months of next season turns out, the Red Sox will be in a HUGE position to decide their own fate during the last month. Hopefully, the starters won’t choke, the bullpen won’t melt down faster than the Springfield Nuclear Power Plat, ad Papelbon won’t have a season of epic blown savery, by his his standards, at least.