The Red Sox’ 60-game sprint is official.
Major League Baseball announced all 30 teams’ schedules Monday evening and the Sox will open with a three-game set July 24-26 against the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park. The Sox will play 40 games against their AL East rivals and 20 against the NL East.
The 60-game season leaves little room for error, both Mitch Moreland and manager Ron Roenicke know that.
“Usually they say a fast start is about 60 games,” Moreland said Monday via Zoom before the schedule was released. “That’s all we got. We have to be ready to go and hopefully get off on the right foot out of the gate. [Xander Bogaerts] actually mentioned it the other day, somebody said ‘Don’t peak too soon’ and he was like ‘No this is different.’ ”
Said Roenicke: “Somewhere you have to get hot. Then you have to play .500-ball, really consistent, to go along with one or two hot streaks. And we know that things may be different how you play people. You may push your relievers a little bit more than you normally do. It’ll be interesting.”
Teams will have 20 interleague games, and the Sox will face the New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, and Miami Marlins.
The Red Sox’ schedule appears toughest through the month of August. After their opening series against the Orioles, the club will have two-game, home-and-home series against the Mets. They then travel to the Bronx and play the Yankees in a three-game series, followed by a two-game road series vs. the Tampa Bay Rays. The Sox head home after that for three against the Blue Jays and four against Tampa. That homestand is folowed by a four-game set at Yankee Stadium.
Their next series (three games at home) against the Toronto Blue Jays is a tough one, too. The Blue Jays are young, but they can hit. Though the Jays finished fourth in the division with just 67 wins, the Red Sox had their issues in 2019 against them, finishing 11-8. Starting Aug. 10, the Red Sox will have the Rays at home for four games, the Yankees for three at Yankee Stadium, two home games against the Phillies, a four-game set vs. Orioles, Toronto for three games in Toronto and a three-game set against the 2019 World Series champion Washington Nationals.
As it relates to divisional play, it’s important to note that the pie isn’t split evenly. One team will have just three or four games at home out of the 10 against its foe. The Sox will play the Yankees at their place seven times and the Rays at Tropicana Field six times.
The Red Sox moved all their home games from 7:10 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in an effort to help maximize viewership without any fans in the stands. If fans are allowed at Fenway at some point, they will revisit start time.
Roenicke on George Floyd
The death of George Floyd in the custody of Minneapolis police officers caused the baseball world to speak out against racial injustices African-Americans face in America. It also began the tough dialogue between whites and Blacks within baseball circles.
Roenicke was a part of those conversations.
“I talked to Jackie [Bradley] a lot about it before I came here,” Roenicke said. “I talked to Torii Hunter. I talked to Dave Roberts with the Dodgers. They are guys in this industry that I respect a lot. [Chief baseball officer] Chaim Bloom made a comment about the responsibility we have [as white allies]. Even though we may not be guilty of something we still are responsible. I think that’s huge. The biggest thing is we’re listening and we need to listen.”
Bradley is the lone Black player on the Red Sox. Dave Roberts is just one of two Black managers in baseball. Torrii Hunter recently said he was consistently called the N-word by fans at Fenway Park, so much so that he had a no-trade clause in his contracts to prevent him being sent to Boston.
“There’s a lot of emotions, hurt, pain,” said Bradley regarding the current feelings of Blacks in America. ”There’s a lot of things that have been voiced. It’s something that’s not going to be fixed overnight. It requires change. It starts with change of the heart. We still have some ways to go.”
Ryan Weber, Heath Hembree, and Brandon Workman all tossed live batting practice Monday. They faced Bradley, Bogaerts, Jose Peraza, Andrew Benintendi, and J.D. Martinez. Pitchers are typically ahead of hitters at the start of camp and that was the case Monday. Nevertheless, toward the end of the live BP session, the hitters found their groove. Bogaerts squared up a pitch to deep center field and Martinez laced a line drive to right field.
Later on in the day, Alex Verdugo took some live batting practice against Marcus Walden.