The Red Sox are going to win the AL East. There's not much doubt that. What matters now is securing the best record in the American League.
The Sox (93-61) are trying to hold off the Oakland Athletics (90-63) and Detroit Tigers (89-64).
The team with the best record in the league will play the wild card winner in the division series starting Oct. 4. That one-game wild card playoff game will be Oct. 2, so clearly there is an advantage there in terms of setting up your rotation.
(Plus the Sox would avoid the Tigers or Athletics in the first round. They were 3-3 against Oakland this season and 3-4 against Detroit.)
The best record in the league also brings with it home field advantage in the ALCS. Given that the Sox are 51-27 at home, there's also plenty of advantage there. With the AL having home field in the World Series, the Sox could end up with two extra home games.
The schedules for the contenders:
Red Sox: Blue Jays (3), at Rockies (2), at Orioles (3).
Athletics: Twins (3), at Angels (3), at Mariners (3).
Tigers: White Sox (3), at Twins (3), at Marlins (3).