So, they're not playing well against the Royals, either. It shouldn't be that much of a surprise.
The Red Sox, facing a primo opportunity to get into a groove before next week's schedule of identity and worth begins against the Tigers, Yankees, and Angels, have responded with their worst stretch of baseball yet this season. Curt Schilling goes for win No. 15 tonight against the juggernaut Royals, just so his team can come back home having salvaged a pathetic 2-4 road trip against the two worst teams in the American League.
They're chortling in the Bronx, boasting in St. Pete, smiling in Kansas City, and breathing a premature sigh of relief in Chicago.
Then again, the Orioles will be waiting for them Friday night at Fenway, which could be the Aleve this team collectively needs.
Take a look at Boston's record this season against opponents they've played to this point:
Blue Jays: 4-7
Devil Rays: 9-8
White Sox: 2-1
Not encouraging, is it? Truth is, they haven't played much of anybody all that well.
Outside of National League teams (That 16-2 mark certainly makes things deceiving, no?), the Red Sox have winning records against seven opponents: The Devil Rays, Mariners, Orioles, Rangers, Royals, Tigers, and White Sox. Versus teams they have played more than three times, they have winning marks against the Rays, Mariners, and Rangers only.
But there is only one AL team the Red Sox have posted better-than-one-game-over-.500 record against: Welcome to town the Baltimore Orioles.
Still, this weekend will be Boston's first meeting with the Orioles since May and the Red Sox are a completely different team than they were back then, ravaged by injuries and a drooping offense (outside of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz). Since the All-Star break, the Sox are just 12-14. They're even worse in August, sporting just a 2-6 mark so far.
Now, the good news. One year ago on this date, the Red Sox were 66-47 (just one fewer win than they have today), en route to a 95-win season. Remaining on the schedule this season are the Yankees, Tigers, Orioles, Angels, Mariners, Blue Jays, White Sox, Royals, Devil Rays and Twins. The Red Sox are a combined 38-33 against those teams.
The 2005 Red Sox were 66-47 after a streak that saw them win eight of their 10 games. In 2006, these Red Sox are 3-7 in their last 10 (God bless Fausto Carmona) and face intense, direct competition from the Twins, White Sox, and Yankees for the AL wild card and East titles. A year ago, it was basically the Red Sox/Yankees or the Indians for the final two AL playoff berths. Of their remaining 50 games, 15 come against those clubs.
A 30-20 record the rest of the way will duplicate last season's total of wins. That's .600 ball for the remainder of the season. Only two months of the 2006 season have the Red Sox played .600 ball or better: May and June.
For the past two seasons, August has been the month in which the Red Sox kicked things into gear, going 18-9 a season ago, and of course, firing up the engines for their postseason run in 2004 with a 21-7 mark the year prior. But there is very little encouraging so far that says they can do it again in 2006. Jason Varitek is gone for quite some time; and if that’s not bad enough, Keith Foulke is returning soon. Tim Wakefield's eventual return will be a boost for an overworked bullpen, but even he hadn't been able to finish seven innings in his last six starts before going on the disabled list.
Boston plays 29 of its final 50 at Fenway Park, which is encouraging, since the Sox are 35-17 (.673 winning percentage) at home this year. Then again, since the All-Star break, the Red Sox are only 8-7 (.533) in the confines.
Most discouraging? Since July 21, three weeks ago tomorrow, the Red Sox have dropped 6½ games in the AL East standings.
They have two dependable hitters. They have one dependable starter. They have one dependable reliever, and even he has shown chinks in the armor in his past two outings, both blown saves.
And if things don't turn around immediately, they have no shot.